The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the scientific name for the jaw. This joint facilitates movements such as hinging and gliding – the directions that we need in order to open and close our mouths. TMJ problems can occur in many ways. Milder conditions can stem from mechanical stress, postural overuse and movement pattern disorders. More moderate and severe conditions are caused from high velocity impact, internal disc derangement and disc adhesions.
The prognosis for TMJ dysfunction is very good. It responds well to manual therapy, gentle exercises and self-management strategies. Often there is involvement from the neck, an area physiotherapists are experts in treating. If left unmanaged a TMJ disorder can begin to affect not only the health of the joint but the integrity of your teeth as well. Prolonged clenching and dysfunction can begin to cause wear and tear, loosening enamel and weakening teeth, leaving you susceptible to cracked teeth.