Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)

Last Updated: July 25, 2018

Definition - What does Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) mean?

The temporomandibular joint (sometimes abbreviated TMJ although this abbreviation is often used to refer to disorders of the temporomandibular joint), also referred to as the jaw joint, is the hinge joint of the jaw situated near the front of the ear. The joint is formed by the interrelationship between the mandible and the skull's temporal bone. The temporomandibular joint enables the jaw's range of movement. It allows it to open and close, move forward and backward, and side to side.

WorkplaceTesting explains Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)

Through the interconnected movements enabled by the temporomandibular joint, the human body is able to speak, eat, chew, swallow, and yawn. The joint can become dislocated through physical impact to the face or neck. Disorders that affect the joint are typically brought about through stress, grinding of the teeth or clenching the jaw and tight facial muscles. Arthritis can also affect the temporomandibular joint causing inflammation, pain and stiffness.

Sleep issues resulting from pain related to a TMJ problem and difficulties with eating and drinking (the jaw can sometimes lock open or closed when the TMJ does not function properly) can lead to distractions and safety errors in the workplace. While physiotherapy is typically performed to treat and relieve symptoms, surgery is sometimes required.

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