Runar D. Johnson, D.D.S.
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Temporomandibular disorders, (TMJ / TMD), describes a group of diseases that can involve the jaw joints, the muscles that control jaw movement and the dental occlusion. TMJ / TMD's are physical disorders arising from an imbalance in the delicate working relationship of the jaw and skull with the muscles that move the jaw, as well as the nervous system associated with these systems. The imbalance results in muscle fatigue, spasm and /or joint dysfunction and even changes in the teeth, which in turn cause a variety of symptoms, unique for each person.

The temporomandibular joint is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw, (mandible), to the temporal bone of the skull, which is immediately in front of the ear on each side of your head. The joints are flexible, allowing the jaw to move smoothly up and down and side to side and enabling you to talk chew, and yawn. Muscles attached to the surrounding jaw joints control the position and movement of the jaw.

The TMJ / TMD joint stystem is unique in many ways. The left and right joints must coordinate, working at the same time for the jaw to move. While the opening, lateral and forward movements of the jaw are controlled by the shape of the bones and are a function of muscles and ligaments, the closing end-point of the jaw movement is controlled by the coming together of the teeth – the bite or occlusion. No other joint in the body has such a rigid end-point limit.

The proper, healthy function of the TMJ / TMD systme requires normal structure and function of all the component parts, including muscles, nervous sytem, ligaments, joint, (bones, discs and connecting tissues), and the dental occlusion.





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