The temporo-mandinbular joint or TMJ is the joint connecting the bottom jaw to the skull. There are two (one on each side) and they are one of the most complex joint systems in the human body. They both have complex movements including rotating, sliding and moving and are also joined to each other via the lower jaw bone so are not independent. They allow us to chew in all directions for maximum eating efficiency. However, they can also be prone to problems due to their complicated structure. Jaw joint problems can show themselves in many ways such as a clicking or popping noise when opening or closing, pain on opening big, or even complete locking of the jaw. Something as subtle and not being able to open our jaw in a straight up/down line or the jaw not opening quite smoothly can be symptoms of a problem.
One potential source of problems of the TMJ is the arrangement of the teeth. As you close your jaw, eventually the teeth touch and then the movements of the TMJs is completely guided by the arrangement of the teeth. If you teeth are off to one side then the jaw closes to that side, shunting the TMJ sideways. Do this thousands of times a day and the joint can start to get worn out. Through his training, Dr Tiang is able to help patients for whom this is the particular problem. By analysing the way the teeth bite together he can recommend a treatment which can correct the misaligned bite and therefore misaligned jaws and TMJs.