When you think of it, the way the teeth mesh when closed together and during chewing function are the only real dictate of the positions of the TMJ’s, which are somewhat of a “hinge” affair. Unlike a door, however, that won’t close properly within its jamb if the hinges were placed incorrectly, the jaw joints, are somewhat pliable, having a cartilage disk between the ball and socket, and unlike the door hinges, they can be compressed or stretched out of their proper positions when the teeth contact to accommodate the off-bite. This is essentially verified by the fact that people without teeth rarely have “TMJ.” Even people with the well-made dentures can exhibit only 25% of the pressure on their TMJ’s and surrounding areas compared to that of people with their natural teeth. Improper teeth meshing, or malocclusion, can be a result of several factors, including a naturally poor bite, trauma, dental treatment such as fillings, crowns and bridges and orthodontic treatment that were undertaken without a consideration of how teeth relate to each other with proper occlusion, i.e., a healthy bite. I routinely see new patients with bites that don’t match their TMJ’s with the above cited symptoms who are unaware of them being related to their bite. I regularly see upper and lower crowns, bridges and fillings that don’t match, and around one half the patients I treat with TMJ symptoms have undergone orthodontic treatment. The orthodontist may have straightened the teeth, but the treatment ended up without consideration of the proper positioning of the TMJ’s.

For a thorough and detailed description of how TMJ problems are dealt within The Dental Wellness Center, “Bioesthetics, Oral Beauty, Function and Temporomandibular Dysfunction  (TMJ”) click on this link: http://www.longbeachholisticdentist.com/LiteratureRetrieve.aspx?ID=40459


 “TMJ”can occur from a traumatic blow to the joint(s), an improper bite relationship between the upper and lower teeth, or a combination of the two. The problem can also be magnified with certain general health conditions, such as osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. So, when someone says that they have “TMJ,” they are really saying that they have symptoms having to do with their temporomandibular joints and adjacent areas. This includes the surrounding muscles, nerves, ligaments and blood vessels, and can manifest in head, facial, neck and back pain, migraines and popping and clicking TMJ’s. It can also be evidenced by other signs and symptoms such as tooth wear, ringing in the ears and vertigo (balance problems). The correct term for this affliction is Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, but even dentists themselves use the slang term, “TMJ,” when referring to this disorder.


“TMJ” is a common acronym term for an affliction that plagues a large segment of the population. Actually, everyone has two TMJ’s, or temporomandibular joints. They connect the lower jaw (mandible) to the upper jaw (temporal bone). They are very unique to all the other joints in the body, as they move in and out of their sockets, or “dislocate” so to speak, during normal functions such as chewing, speaking and yawning. All other body joints normally remain within their sockets during motion, and if they dislocate, it is a very traumatic event. The TMJ’s are a ball and socket type joint (condyle and fossa) that can move in many directions during normal function. In a healthy functioning mouth, however they do have a stable “home base” position (left image) when the teeth are closed together. They can, however, also be forced to operate out of their normal, healthy positions, in this case, the cartilage being dislocated in a forward position (right image).