Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) is a mouthful, and ironically it’s located right near the mouth! This particular joint is on the jawbone which connects to the skull. Every person has one on each side of their jaw. For people who suffer from temporomandibular joint disorder, it causes pain on both sides of their mouth and is usually due to genetics, arthritis, or some sort of jaw injury, says Mayo Clinic.
TMJ disorders aren’t something we hear about all that often, but it’s actually quite common, especially for people who tend to clench or grind their teeth. Here’s a look at everything you need to know about temporomandibular joint disorder….
1. What is it?
As we previously mentioned, the temporomandibular joint is located on the side of the jaw. We each have one on each side of the jaw. Mayo Clinic describes it as a “sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull.” According to the Canadian Dental Association, the TMJ is considered one of the most complex joints in the body. It not only moves forward and backwards, but it can also rotate and move side to side. With a little help from some other muscles and ligaments, it also allows us to chew, speak, yawn, and swallow. A temporomandibular joint disorder is when someone suffers from pain in their jaw joint and the muscles that help open and close the jaw, or any other jaw movements.
To locate your temporomandibular joint, place two fingers on your cheek, right in front of your ears, and then open and close your mouth. You should be able to feel a rounded joint that moves as the mouth opens and closes. “What you’re feeling are the rounded ends of the lower jaw as they glide along the joint socket of the temporal bone, which is the part of the skull that contains the inner ear and the temple,” writes Kid’s Health.