TMJ causes, problems, syndrome, disorder, location, information, tmj treatment, tmj doctor cleveland tmj dentist, lockjaw, jaw locked, clicking, tongue tmj

Where is my TMJ?

Location, location, location

there_it_isWhile your Temporo Mandibular Joint may be quite a mouthful to pronounce, it’s actually quite easy to locate.
To find your jaw joint, trace your finger to right under your cheekbone – just in front of the middle of your ear. When you open and close your jaw, can you feel that movement? Do you feel the movement of your jaw joint against your skull? That’s your TMJ! It’s the point where your lower jaw attaches to the skull.

Because of the stress placed on the TMJ, a variety of symptoms may develop, such as headaches, tingling in your fingers and back of your hand and pain in your neck or shoulders.

Here’s another trick. Place your little fingers, pads forward, in your ear canals and gently pull forward. Open and close your teeth. Do you feel any clicking, popping or grinding? That’s a stressed TMJ.

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Be aware that…your jaws are NOT “hinging”

Contrary to what you might imagine, your jaw joint isn’t a hinge. There is an assumption that a jaw joint operates similar to a door hinge; moving along as it’s required. Instead, your jaw joint is more like a ball. Your joint rotates and slides forward or backward and can sort of swing from side-to-side. Your jaws are NOT connected bone-to-bone…

When you have an imbalance in your bite:

  • Your upper jaw is shaped in a V
  • Your lower jaw is shaped in a broad U
  • Your upper and lower jaws don’t have the same shape

For your jaw to work properly, every time you open and close your mouth, you jaw joints need to move your lower jaw back to where it’s wider. Your jaw joint rotates and slides.

There are a series of muscles, nerves, tendons and lymph nodes that connect the jaw with other bones of the skull and neck. So, you have upper and lower jaws that aren’t compatible and you have muscles and nerves that operate the entire working system. Every time you bring your teeth together to chew, bite, swallow, talk, sing, etc – your jaw is strained, trying to create balance and control.

With even a slight imbalance in your bite, over time you will start to see significant problems.

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Room to breathe for your tongue. . . literally

tongueThe tongue is a fascinating muscle and one that probably doesn’t get a lot of recognition. Did you know that your tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body, relative to its size? It’s also the only muscle that isn’t attached on both ends. Hmmm…

Besides the interesting trivia, your tongue is imperative to your health. Here’s the deal:

Your tongue is attached to your lower jaw and when you have imbalance in your bite, it essentially acts as a pillow. It’s used as a cushion to help relax your jaw.

When you are a mouth breather, your tongue needs to stay out of the way. It drops down to the floor of your mouth, allowing air to pass over top of it. When you breathe through your nose, your tongue sits normally behind the upper teeth, pushing out to balance the force of the lips and cheeks that are counter-pushing in.

no_roomWhen the tongue is no longer balancing the lips and cheek muscles, over time your jaw growth is affected. Your upper arch changes from a healthy U-shape to the newly formed V-shape.

When you have imbalance or disproportions in your bite, your tongue simply doesn’t have the room to fit in your mouth. It’s like parking a Cadillac in a parking space designated for a Smart Car. When your Cadillac tongue is parked in your Smart Car mouth, it will lead to improper tongue placement and that can lead to blocked and restricted air passages.

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