What is the TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint)?
The TMJ (Temporo-Mandibular Joint) is where the mandible ( the lower jaw) joins the temporal bone of the skull separated by a fibro-cartilagenous disc which facilitates the movement of the mandible on the base of the skull. The joint can be found on both the sides of your head, infant of your ears. With the help of several muscles, It allows you to open and close your jaw. Additionally, this joint enables you to move your jaw forward, backward and side-to-side, letting you eat, talk, yawn and swallow. This makes the Jaw joint or TMJ extremely unique compared to other joints of the body and is one of the most frequently used joints of the body.
Feel your TMJ
You can locate the TMJ and feel it working by pressing your fingertips immediately in front of each ear then fully opening and closing your mouth. You can also feel the TMJ in motion if you Put your fingertips into your ear canal (with the fingernail backwards) then pressing forward as you open and close your jaw.
TMJ disorders or TMJD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorders) or TMD(Temporomandibular Disorders) happens when there is dysfunction in the Jaw joint causing either :
- Tenderness in the joint
- Facial pain
- Difficulty opening mouth
- Locked Jaw
- Ear pain
- Neck Pain
What causes TMJ Disorder/TMJD/TMD?
It is important to understand that TMJ disorders are multifactorial. A complete balance between the functions of the teeth, jaws and muscles is required for the joint to function appropriately. However, an imbalance between the three can subject the joints to excessive strain and can result in its dysfunction after a period of time.
- Misaligned teeth, missing teeth and poor dental work including orthodontics
- Incorrect swallowing habits from childhood which push the jaw back
- Myofunctional habits such as bruxing (grinding of teeth) and mouth breathing.
- Tension resulting in clenching and grinding of teeth
- Low Tongue Posture/ Tongue Tie
- Incorrect Jaw growth causing mismatch of the upper and lower jaws
- Trauma such as a fall or car accident (very common in whiplash injuries)
- Degenerative diseases such as Osteoarthritis.
Allergies from a young age
- the Lower Jaw (mandible) which forms the lower part of the Joint, is suspended with a sling of muscles from the skull and supported by the facial and neck muscles, which is why it is sensitive to even slight changes in posture.
Poor Diet and Lifestyle
Poor Sleep hygiene
Your Headaches, Ear Problems or Neck/Shoulder Tension may be originating from your jaw!
The Jaw Joint is very unique in its position and functions. There are several muscles and ligaments that connect the Jaw Joint with the skull, ears and neck. So, if the disc between the joint gets dislocated or there is any muscular dysfunction, it causes the muscles or ligaments connecting the joint with the ears, neck and head to stretch or strain causing pain.
- Back of the head
- Front of the head above the ears
- One sided headache
- Migraine headaches
Ear Problems :
- Sharp ear pain or dull aching kind of pain
- Ear Stuffiness
Neck/Shoulder Pain :
- Pain at the back of the neck
- Stiff shoulders
- Pain while moving the head to side
Did You know? Poor Tongue Posture and Breathing Issues can also cause TMJD/TMD?
Tongue is the central most muscular organ in our mouth. Ideally, it should always be positioned on the roof of our mouth at all times at rest, except while eating, yawning or talking.This is the most favourable position of the tongue, and it helps in the proper growth and maintaining a proper balance of the structures of the head and neck region.
Most importantly, this allows for the proper development of the airway and thus helps in eminent delivery of oxygen to the rest of the body.
Poor Tongue posture can lead to dysfunctional breathing and all of this puts tremendous stress on the TMJ complex. Mouth Breathing and poor Myofunctional habits are usually present with sufferers of TMJ disorder. These poor habits
are developed in childhood and are retained in adulthood, which contributes to TMJ disorders. Hence, both conditions must be considered during treatment.
Symptoms such as headache, neck pain, snoring and fatigue can arise due to this as well.
How can we Help in Managing your TMJ disorder?
The dental profession has been involved in treating TMJ disorder since 1930s. Along with the medical profession(particularly ENTs and Throat specialists) we are involved in treating the Breathing and sleep disorders as well.Since TMJD has multiple facets to it. Not one single treatment can help manage TMJD effectively.
Since a lot of times, focusing on just one aspect of the disorder can relapse the condition sooner or later. SInce, all of the factors mentioned are related to each other, it is important that all of them function well in order to have a healthy joint function and achieve the desired result that can last.
Hence, In our unique TMJ PROTOCOL, we make sure that all of these factors are dealt with individually :Teeth, Muscles, Jaw Joint, Orofacial growth, Airway, Breathing, Sleep, Body Posture and Diet & Lifestyle
A deep dive into all of these factors help us to get you the desired results. It will help, not only, with your joint issues but also to sleep, breathe and function better. All of which is extremely critical in maintaining Jaw Joint health.
As every patient is unique in their own terms, the treatment offered in our TMJ PROTOCOL is personalised to every one. Hence, it is unique.
- Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy
- TMJ Orthotics
- Airway Orthodontics
- Physical Therapy
- Breathing Re-training
At Oraface, We are proud to have a collaborative team of like-minded professionals to help You and your family have Sleep, Breathe and Smile better! The First and Exclusive in Gujarat!
- Tongue is super important in forming sounds and pronouncing words and letters.
- Many children with Poor Tongue function and Tongue Ties present with delayed onset of speech, speech clarity or other speech issues.
- Forward head posture, drooping shoulders, bent spine, humped neck – is a result of the body trying to compensate itself to get enough air when the anatomy doesn’t allow it.
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