The Temporomandibular Joint

By Dr. Tarek O. Zaki, D.D.S.

Temporomandibular Joint



What is the temporomandibular joint and how can orthodontists decrease the chances of stress and pain on this joint?




The Temporomandibular Joint


A joint is where two bones meet in our body. Normally there is cartilage covering them at their contact surfaces. The muscles, ligaments and nerve supply concerned regulate the motion required. Any disruption in any or all of the above can damage this system. While our bodies are normally equipped to repair such damage, it is when this capability is impaired that problems arise and come to our attention in the form of pain, clicking or even restriction in the ability to move in this particular region.


When chewing, our teeth come together because the muscles of mastication and the joints between the lower jaw and the rest of the head make it possible. The temporomandibular joint is the hinge joint between the temporal bone and the lower jaw (or mandible). These muscles and joints, like any other muscles or joints in our body, can be affected by undue stress or disease.


TMJ Temporomandibular JointSome forms of bad bites interfere with the lower jaw’s ability to function freely within its physiological (normal) range of motion. At times a person may have a cross-bite (one or several top teeth laying on the inside of the lower teeth when biting) such as when the two jaws are incompatible in size. A cross bite can force the lower jaw to shift to the side of this malocclusion when biting.  This in turn can put stress on these joints.  I wish to point out that, as with all other joints, many other factors can affect their well-being such as direct injury, osteoporosis, arthritis, degenerative muscle disease, etc. People who suffer from diseases such as diabetes or psoriasis need to know that they are more prone to arthritis than the average person.


By correcting bite problems, orthodontists can decrease the chances of unduly stressing the temporomandibular joint and the facial muscles and this is part of what we do in our practice.


Zaki Orthodontics in Virginia Beach Virginia is the practice of Dr. Tarek O. Zaki, D.D.S. He is an experienced orthodontist providing braces, Invisalign® and other orthodontic services to Virginia Beach and the surrounding cities in Hampton Roads, including Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk and Portsmouth Virginia. Dr. Zaki offers free, comprehensive, 2nd opinion examinations. For a full list of Zaki Orthodontics’ treatments and services click here. Click here to request an appointment online or call for a consultation. 757-416-1100


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