TMJ Disorder described by Your Dental Specialists – Dr Florian Mack and Dr Michael Darveniza – Prosthodontists
The TemporoMandibular Joint aka TMJ (commonly known as the jaw joint) is probably the most complex joint in the human body because it not only hinges but translates (goes straight).
This video below explains TMJ disorder as simply as possible to help you understand and recognise the symptoms and best treatment options.
The TMJ hinges with the head of the jaw bone (condyle) in a cup (fossa). To prevent these two bones, the head and the cup, grating together, it is separated by a soft cushion (disc), made of fibrocartilage that does not show up in an x-ray but only in an MRI. This disc is not uniform in thickness and this allows it to physiologically adapt (partially) to an unprotected bite.
Internally, from the bony cup (fossa) the bone has a flat section, called the articular eminence. This allows the head of the jaw joint to slide forward, in a straight manner, along the articular eminence when we open our mouths – this process is called translation. Hence, the jaw not only hinges open but translates straight, forward, left and right.
It is during this translation process when the disc becomes vulnerable to disc displacement, commonly known as clicking. When the disc is not in the correct position, during the four different jaw movements of hinging, left right and forward it is called a ‘disc derangement’ (displacement) as in diagram 2.
Identifying the cause of the temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD)
Because some other medical conditions can cause similar symptoms of the TMJ, it is important for Your Dental Specialist to diagnose the source of the jaw pain. Eating or talking can no longer be taken for granted so if you are having trouble eating or opening your mouth due to jaw pain, or experience jaw pain on waking, give us a call and make an appointment so you can be assessed.
You could have one or many of the TMJ symptoms but you need to be given the right advice and dental care to alleviate the pain and prevent your condition from getting worse.
For a lot of people the term TMJ or TMD is not one in their everyday vocabulary until you experience one or more of the symptoms that relate to the temporomandibular joint. You can read this list of TMJ symptoms or click here to read what many of the patients who have undergone the best treatment for TMJ disorder.