Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ)


If you are one of countless Americans who wake up each morning with a sore jaw, headaches, discomfort in the face, shoulders, or neck, pain or ringing in your ears, or clicking or popping of the jaw, you may be experiencing TMD ...

TMJ stands for the Temporomandibular Joints
– and has come to commonly mean disorders and diseases affecting those joints. The Temporomandibular Joints are the two joints in front of the ears that attach the lower jaw (the mandible) to the skull. According to the National Institutes of Health, the phrase Temporomandibular Disorders refers to a collection of medical and dental conditions affecting the Temporomandibular Joints and/or the chewing (mastication) muscles, as well as related tissue components.

TMJ Disorders and Diseases often feature muscle spasms which are sometimes diagnosed as Fibromyalgia or Myofacial Pain Dysfunction . In TMJ Disorders , you may experience joint problems, muscle problems, or both.

The Temporomandibular Joints and the Mandibular Complex are able to function and move by means of innervated muscle, ligaments, and tissue that are the connecting components between the lower jaw and the skull. These joints allow us to breathe, swallow (we swallow 2,000 - 3,000 times a day!), open and close our mouths, chew, kiss, talk, etc. The jaw joints can be afflicted by trauma, arthritis, allergies & frequent tonsilitis, tearing or dislocation of the articular disc, or even tumors.

When they are healthy and intact, these joints are the only joints in the human body that work together as a unit. Like all other ball-and-socket joints, the jaw joints rotate. They also move down and forward (this motion is called translation). A thin piece of tissue (the articular disc) acts as a buffer between the skull and the condyle (the top of the mandible).

 Dr. Sparks  began his post graduate tmj  training in 2004  at LVI. 

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