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Jaw Problems: Structural Problems and Injury - Topic Overview

Problems in the structure of the jaw joint include:

  • Problems in the bones or other structures of the joint. These may have been present since birth (congenital), developed over time, or been caused by injury.
  • Problems with the disc that cushions the joint between the jawbone (mandible) and the skull, such as the disc moving out of its normal position (disc displacement) or tearing (usually the result of a long-standing joint dysfunction).
  • Arthritis, which can cause wearing away of the disc or inflammation of the membranes lining the joint (synovitis).
  • Scar tissue within the joint (adhesions).
  • In rare cases, tumors in or near the jaw joint.

Injury to the temporomandibular (TM) joint camera.gif most commonly occurs when too much stress is placed on the joint by:

  • Chewing hard or chewy foods.
  • Bruxism (grinding or clenching the teeth) over a period of time, and especially during sleep.
  • Dental procedures that require the jaw to be held open too wide for a long time.

These stressors can cause the articular disc to shift out of its normal position (disc displacement). Because this disc cushions the joint between the jawbone (mandible) and the skull, displacement can result in pain and locking of the joint.

A blow to the jaw, TM joint dislocation, or jaw fracture can also result in TM disorder symptoms.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 11, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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