Your Farmington Hills Dentist Discusses TMJ Disorder

Have you ever taken a bite of food and noticed a “popping” or “clicking” sound as you begin to chew? Even if little or no discomfort occurs when you experience these symptoms, you might be suffering from TMJ.

What is TMJ Disorder?

The temporomandibular joint is also referred to as the TMJ. Your TMJs are the hinge joints that connect the mandible (lower jaw) to the temporal bone of the skull.  The temporal bone is in front of the ear on each side of the head. Problems with the jaw, jaw joint, and surrounding facial muscles all fall under the umbrella of TMJ disorder, or TMD.

Oftentimes, patients afflicted with TMJ disorder feel a “popping” in their jaw when they chew food or gum.  Commonly, TMD sufferers are bothered by headaches, pain in the jaw joint area, and discomfort in their neck and shoulders.

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

Although the cause of TMJ disorder is often difficult to pinpoint, many doctors feel that the issues arise due to problems with the muscles of the jaw or the jaw joint.  Any injury to the jaw or TMJ could possibly lead to TMJ disorder.  Frequently, patients that were recently involved in a car crash complain of jaw line sensitivity. People that grind their teeth tend to suffer from TMJ-related lower jaw pain, as well.