What are the temporomandibular joint and its structures?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull (temporal bone). It is located in front of each ear, and it allows the jaw to move up and down, side to side, and forward and backward.
The TMJ is made up of several structures, including:
- The articular disc: A piece of cartilage that sits between the two bones of the joint.
- The condyle: The rounded part of the mandible that fits into the socket of the temporal bone.
- The fossa: The socket in the temporal bone that the condyle fits into.
- The articular eminence: A bony ridge that helps to guide the condyle into the fossa.
- The ligaments: Bands of tissue that hold the joint together.
What structures are medial to the temporomandibular joint?
The structures that are medial to the temporomandibular joint include:
- The masseter muscle: A large muscle that helps to close the jaw.
- The pterygoid muscles: Two muscles that help to move the jaw side to side and forward.
- The parotid gland: A large salivary gland that is located in front of the ear.
What are the temporomandibular joints?
There are two temporomandibular joints, one on each side of the head. They are named after the bones that they connect: the temporal bone and the mandible.
What is the difference between TMJ and TMD?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. TMD stands for temporomandibular disorder. TMD is a condition that affects the temporomandibular joint and the surrounding tissues. It can cause pain, clicking, popping, and other problems with the jaw.
The main difference between TMJ and TMD is that TMJ is simply the name of the joint, while TMD is a condition that affects the joint.
How does TMJ affect hearing?
In some cases, TMJ can affect hearing. This is because the TMJ is located very close to the ear. If the TMJ is inflamed or painful, it can put pressure on the eustachian tubes, which are small tubes that connect the middle ear to the back of the throat. This can cause fluid to build up in the middle ear, which can lead to hearing problems.
In addition, TMJ can sometimes cause tinnitus, which is a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears. This is thought to be caused by inflammation or tension in the muscles that control the jaw.
If you are experiencing hearing problems or tinnitus, it is important to see an audiologist to rule out any other causes. If your audiologist suspects that TMJ may be contributing to your hearing problems, they may refer you to a dentist or oral surgeon who specializes in TMD.