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Temporomandibular joint dysfunction

Category: Illness or disabilities



Introduction and description


Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is an umbrella term covering pain and dysfunction of the muscles of mastication (the muscles that move the jaw) and the temporomandibular joints (the joints which connect the mandible to the skull).

The most important feature is pain, followed by restricted mandibular movement, and noises from the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) during jaw movement. TMD is thought to be very common. About 20-30% of the adult population are affected to some degree.

Usually people affected by TMD are between 20 and 40 years of age, and it is more common in females than males.  TMD is often just one a wide array of symptoms that are actually caused by a host of problems.  By concentrating on only the jaw, one may miss the wider picture.  For this reason we have not put all the causes here, but have provided links to other sections where the set of symptoms can be explored.


Temporomandibular joint dysfunction also shares a high degree of co-morbidity with Fibromyalgia in particular and other conditions, including chronic headacheirritable bowel syndrome, and chronic fatigue syndrome.  The description for Fibromyalgia provides a great deal more detail on the possible causes of this disease.

Teeth grinding


As teeth are also crystalline, teeth themselves can produce electric current if ground together.  Thus if you grind your teeth on a regular basis - at night for example, or when stressed, you will be generating a continual small but significant electric current. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, may be one by-product of this effect.

If, furthermore, you grind away your fillings, you are filling your body with an interesting array of heavy metals, resins, ceramics and so on.

The so-called 'dental amalgam controversy' refers to the conflicting views over the use of amalgam as a filling material mainly because it contains the element mercury. According to Wikipedia:

“Scientists agree that dental amalgam fillings leach mercury into the mouth, but studies vary widely in the amount and whether such amount presents significant health risks. Estimations run from 1-3  micrograms (µg) per day (FDA) up to 27 µg/day (Patterson).”


If you have an extremely sensitive immune system, it will detect this amount and a number of  autoimmune diseases have been linked with dental fillings - particularly those containing heavy metals.

Thus if you suffer from a so called auto-immune disease as well as TMJ, then it is worth exploring the link to autoimmune diseases and the link to the dental fillings problem.


Related observations