TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint. These are bilateral joints in front of the ears that attach the lower jaw to the skull. The mandible is the lower jaw and the “Temporo” refers to the temporal bones in the skull. This is an complex area of bones, nerves, teeth, cartilaginous discs, connective tissue, glands and muscles.
The TMJ is the only reciprocal joint in the body i.e. if you right joint moves the left joint must also move. All other joints in the body can move independently of each other.
Due to the complex nature of this joint and the surrounding anatomy and physiology, TMJ dysfunction can affect many areas of the body from the top of the head ranging from migraines to headaches to numbness and tingling in the arms or pains in the neck shoulder and back.
Common TMJ symptoms include:
- Facial Pain
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
- Unexplained loose teeth
- Sensitive and sore teeth
- Jaw pain
- Restricted Jaw movement
- Worn or cracked teeth
- Painful clicking or popping of the joints
- Inability to close your mouth
- A sudden change in the way your teeth come together.
For a list of TMJ references please click here.