The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge and sliding joint located on each side off the head, allowing for everyday oral functions such as eating, swallowing, talking, yawning, coughing and sneezing. When the joint or muscles surrounding it become inflamed or damaged from injury, overuse, parafunctional impact or other causes, a group of conditions collectively known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) develops.
A debilitating condition for a number of individuals, TMD not only affects oral structures, it also impacts other areas of the body as well.
TMD symptoms range from mild to severe and may be acute or chronic, depending on individual circumstances. Though the exact etiology of TMD has yet to be determined, several contributing factors have been identified, such as stress, bruxism, parafunctional habits, bite misalignment, arthritis and other causative agents. The following TMD symptoms are recognized as being the most common among those affected by the condition:
TMD symptoms can pose anywhere from minor inconveniences to serious, life-altering conditions. Many cases of TMD require only palliative care and lifestyle changes, while others must be corrected with more comprehensive treatment. If you are suffering from TMD symptoms, however minor, contact your dentist for a TMJ evaluation as soon as possible.
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