What is TMJ and TMD? Decoding Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

What is TMJ and TMD?

What is TMJ TMD?     

What is TMJ TMD?

Welcome to your online resource for information on the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of temporomandibular joint disorders often referred to as TMJ or TMD.

You are not alone.

Millions of men, women and children suffer from TMJ TMD, physical conditions that affect the jaw joints (mandible) and the muscles system responsible for jaw function and many have found relief through safe, conservative, non-invasive treatment.

Whether your are seeking diagnosis, treatment or information about TMJ TMD, this site provides a complete picture and detailed insights into the temporomandibular joint syndrome. From a simple introduction to TMJ TMD symptoms to a sophisticated analysis of computerized diagnostics and neuromuscular occlusion therapy, you will find the information here.

Temporomandibular Joints (TMJs) are located on both sides of the face in front of the ears, connecting the jawbone (mandible) to the skull (temporal bone). They're the most complicated joints in the human body, providing rotation (pivoting) movement like all joints, as well as sliding movement, called translation. That's what allows us to open our mouths wide and move our jaws from left to right. Between the top end of the jaw (condyle) and the socket in the skull is a disc of cartilage, which — like the discs in the neck and back — serve as shock absorbers, protecting the bones from hitting each other.

The Joints Work with the Neuromuscular System.

The movement of the jaw is orchestrated by a complex set of muscles, which are, in turn, controlled by the body's local and central nervous system. Together, they're called the neuromuscular system. The whole jaw-joint system is held together by ligaments, which limit the range of motion in all directions — as they do in all the joints of the body.

A Unique System of Many Parts.

The TMJ joint system is unique in many ways. The left and right joints must coordinate, working at the same time for the jaw to move. While the opening, lateral and forward movements of the jaw are controlled by the shape of the bones and are a function of muscles and ligaments, the closing end-point of the jaw movement is controlled by the coming together of the teeth — the bite or occlusion. No other joint in the body has such a rigid end-point limit.

The proper, healthy function of the TMJ system requires normal structure and function of all the component parts, including muscles, nervous system, ligaments, joints (bones, discs and connecting tissues) and the dental occlusion.

What are Temporomandibular Disorders?

Temporomandibular disorders (TMJ TMD) are often called "TMJ" by doctors, patients and even insurance companies, although the term TMJ actually refers only to the jaw joints themselves.

TMJ TMD describes a group of diseases that can involve the jaw joints, the muscles that control jaw movement and the dental occlusion. TMJ TMDs are physical disorders arising from an imbalance in the delicate working relationship of the jaw and skull with the muscles that move the jaw, as well as the nervous system associated with these systems. This imbalance results in muscle fatigue, spasm and/or joint dysfunction, and even changes in the teeth, which in turn cause a variety of symptoms, unique for each person.

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