The temporomandibular joint is known as the TMJ joint and is usually shorted to TMJ. But what is so important about this joint? Well, it’s at the base f your skull that’s in front of your ear structure and connects to your mandible. This brings the jaws together. This is a unique thing because the structure is a rounded protrusion of the mandible that’s sitting against the indentation within the skull, and it is a kind of a disc in structure made of cartilage and soft bone that’s found between this. these parts of the TMJ hold the ligaments that come from different areas of the head and the neck, and will support the jaw by guiding the movements. There are many muscles that are connected.
So how does it work? it is basically a hinge that lets you open and close the mouth, just like with a door. It also does a sliding motion called translation where the lower jaw moves both down and forward. This helps it move backwards and forwards and from side to side, and you use this for yawning, singing, and of course eating.
However, just like every other joint, this can become swollen, fractures, and sore, which can cause pain in the jaw that radiates out to the neck and head area. A fracture can cause severe pain along with swelling. This is very rare though, and it’s hard to treat with just drugs. However this is usually temporary, and can be treated with ice and heat to help the ligaments there.
Sometimes, this can come from the teeth. Tooth grinding actually can cause TMJ pain and issues, and it can be a source of jaw activity which is aggressive for a lot of people. If you clench your jaw too much, it does cause TMJ issues and pain, and when some people sleep at night, they deal with this. the best way to treat this is of course a night guard, or even having something that will help you bite down so you’re not grinding your teeth.
In some cases, you might need surgery. This is very rare, but you can talk to a surgeon that lets you check to make sure that you have the proper treatment of the pain. You might get imaging pictures of the joint which are taken if you need treatment and surgery. You might need treatment that is similar to orthopedic treatment if you are receiving help for your knee injury.
You may need to check with your dentist quite a bit, and get a routine dental exam for yourself. Get yourself the right kind of toothpaste too, and if needed, get a night guard to help you treat this. your dentist will always check for TMJ issues, and usually that’s when they’re checking the jaw. This is like any other joint within the body, and preventative health habits will offer a lifetime of happiness, and a lack of pain as well that comes from this too.