Essentially, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) fixes the lower jaw to the upper jaw. Unlike other joints in the body, the TMJ has a wide range of motion, including rotational and transitional movements. This joint allows for your mouth to open and move in various positions. Each person has two temporomandibular joints that are fixed below the ears and both joints work together in order for the upper and lower jawbones to move. Surrounding each joint are muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These tissues work with the joint to open and close the mouth as well as assist with talking, chewing, biting, gulping, and swallowing.
If your TMJ joints are misaligned, it causes a wide range of problems with oral function and creates a ripple effect throughout the rest of your body. When dysfunction is present, the TMJ does not align the upper and lower jawbones properly. As a result, your muscles, ligaments, and tendons attempt to correct the misalignment by forcing your jawbones into their correct position. This disrupts the harmonious functions of the human body as the soft tissues are trying to correct the misplacement of bone structures. Furthermore, this dysfunction creates a hostile environment for your teeth. Many patients with TMJ disorder experience noticeable tooth wear from bruxism. Since your jawbones are not functioning properly, your back molars may scrape, grind, and gnash against each other. Over time, these destructive motions become habitual—you may not even realize you are doing it. Grinding, gnashing, clenching, and scraping create small cracks in your tooth enamel. This makes patients susceptible to fractures, chips, and internal damage of the teeth.
Beyond affecting your oral health, TMJ disorder contributes to neck pain, facial pain, migraines, earaches, and dizziness.
If you believe you have TMJ disorder, contact Dr. Askari at (248) 566-6490 to schedule an appointment at Comfort Dental Spa. Dr. Askari is committed to providing comprehensive care to her patients. Our staff serves residents of Farmington Hills, Southfield, Northfield, Livonia, Dearborn, and the surrounding Detroit communities.