Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery In London
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The Temporomandibular Joint

As you see in the brief video, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) movement is not straightforward. This should combine a hinge action with a smooth, sliding motion, to work comfortably and accurately.

Together with the joint itself, related muscles and other tissues failing to be in good order can bring disfunction. Neither are symptoms restricted to the immediate area around the joint.

This is close to the ear canal, the reason tinnitus, or other ear conditions can be symptomatic of TMJ disorders. Proximity to the upper part of the jaw bone explains possible sinus symptoms.

A further aspect to note is how relatively small the joint is, when you consider how much use this has throughout life. Every time we eat, talk, perhaps take a deep breath.

Natural Vulnerability

To achieve the right motion, your jaw joint needs to be unimpaired, yet is quite exposed. Damage by a blow, or other trauma are quite common issues, not least during sports activity.

Parts of the joint beyond the bone are vulnerable, including small, shock absorbing discs, ligaments and a substantial muscle group, which all need to work together.

Beyond the articular discs, cartilage also covers part of the bone and as with other areas in our body, age, wear, or arthritis can have an unwanted effect.

Prevalent & Curable

The reason for outlining possible issues was not to concern you, more to explain why if you have a problem, you are far from alone.

Around 10% of the UK’s population experience TMJ issues, with incidence higher in women than men, although not strikingly. Whilst age bring certain causes such as arthritis, cases in middle age are higher.

Research into higher risk groups should continue, not every factor which makes up, or causes the 30 or so variations of TMJ disorder is understood.

What is clearer to maxillofacial specialists, is the best approaches for temporomandibular joint treatment. Most cases find a good solution.

Neither should they be treated in isolation, when the joint is part of so many vital functions and issues in the area can be intertwined.

By all means read more on the individual assessment and treatment our London clinic offers for a range of jaw disorders, a core area of maxillofacial support.