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Office blog

TMJ problems

Jaw Tightness and Tension: What Does It Mean?

When you have tightness or tension in your jaw, it can be uncomfortable to say the least. You could be experiencing pain in your neck and throat as well as your jaw. You could also have trouble opening your mouth all the way, or it may even be impossible for you to do this. You may even have symptoms that don’t appear to have anything to do with your jaw, including headaches or ear infections. What does all this mean? Here are the top three things your jaw tightness and tension may be pointing to!

Dental occlusion/TMJ and general body health

During the treatment of symptoms originating from disorders of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and occlusion, it was found that restoring the TMJ to its normal condition resulted in a change of general body health. In most cases, this change was for the better. Owing to similar reports, a connection between TMJ status and general body health was therefore hypothesised. However, the mechanism of this relationship remains unclear.

Researchers identify potential risk factors for TMD

Researchers have identified a list of characteristics they say will eventually help health professionals identify patients who are at risk of developing temporomandibular disorders, according to a report published recently in an issue of the NYSDA news. 

In following a large number of control individuals, as well as people reporting temporomandibular disorder pain, Richard Ohrbach, DDS, PhD, director of the Oral Diagnostic Sciences at the University of Buffalo School of Dental Medicine and a clinical psychologist, and other researchers found that a high rate of variables they  assessed were associated with painful temporomandibular disorders.

TMD (2)

What causes TMJ dysfunction?

We are all exposed to stresses in our environment.
Let us call these external stresses. A typical reaction to these stresses is muscle contraction: tight shoulders and neck, bail­ed fists, and clenched jaws. If the jaws are habitually clenched, due to a lot of stress, anxiety, and/or frustrations, and if the teeth do not support the jaws properly, then the jaw joints become jammed and overclosed, causing damage to the joints. This may oc­cur with totally natural teeth, (even in teenagers), with partially natural plus some false teeth; with full dentures.

TMD (1)

TMD (TMJ disorder) is a series of signs and symptoms associated with the Temporal mandibular joints, which include:

  • Headaches
  • Jaw joint pain
  • Jaw joint noise or clicking
  • Limited mouth opening
  • Ear congestion
  • Dizziness
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Loose teeth
  • Clenching or grinding
  • Facial pain
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Chewing difficulties
  • Neck pain
  • Postural problems
  • Tingling of the fingertips
  • Hot & cold sensitivity of teeth
  • Nervousness or insomnia

TMJ disorders and their associated pain consequences are being recognized more and more by the prevention-oriented health care providers.

TMJ disorder and orthodontics

“Doctor, I was fine until I had my braces on, but now I think I have TMJ.” In every orthodontic practice, this situation arises consistently and with alarming regularity. TMJ disorder is one of the most common problems affecting millions of people each year. Read more.

What is TMJ?

TMJ is the abbreviation of Temporo-mandibular Joint, which is the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. Every human has one of these joints on each side of the head, somewhere around the ear. Anything that you do to move your jaw requires these joints to function properly. That means you can’t eat, talk, or even smile and frown without functioning TMJ. Place your fingers in front of or inside the ear canals, try opening and closing your mouth to detect the movement of TMJ.

TMJ is a “loose-fitting”, rotating and sliding joint with a fibrocartilage covered, football shaped ball (condyle), fibrous pad (disc), fibrocartilage lined socket (fossa), ligaments, tendons, blood vessels and nerves.