TMJ, or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, involves conditions affecting the temporomandibular joint, jaw muscles, and nerves on one or both sides of the head, which can result in jaw, face, and head and neck pain. The pain may be severe, can be either intermittent or constant, and can last for many years, plus it can flare up during stressful times.
TMJ conditions include:
- Myofacial Pain. This is the most common TMJ condition that involves discomfort and pain in the muscles that control jaw movement.
- Internal Derangement. This TMJ disorder is associated with a displaced disc in the jaw joint, a dislocated jaw or a lower jaw injury.
- Arthritis. This TMJ pain involves degenerative and inflammatory joint conditions.
More than 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ, and it has been predicted that as much as 85 percent of the U.S. population will experience some type of TMJ symptom in their lifetime. TMJ affects twice as many women as men, and is most prevalent among people between the ages of 20 and 40.
Certain causes of TMJ also may affect your bite, as well as the longevity of any smile makeover restorations you may want your dentist to provide. If your dentist identifies problems such as wear, tooth mobility, or muscle pain, your bite may need to be adjusted.
Ensuring a stable bite is essential to your oral health and the long-term durability and functionality of cosmetic restorations. Also, maintaining a stable occlusion and a proper bite helps ensure that your upper and lower teeth will come into contact in the most comfortable and pain-free manner possible, without unnecessary force that could lead to headaches or fractured restorations.