TMJ/ Jaw, Your Special Muscle
There are 5 muscles of mastication on each side, the right and the left(i.e. chewing food).
Out of 5 muscles, 4 muscles close your mouth and only one small and thin muscle opens your mouth with the assistance from Gravity.
It is said that clenching force is as strong as 25kg in the front teeth and upto 125kg in the back teeth!!!
No wonder some people crack their teeth when they clench or grind their teeth at work or at night for long time.
Those 4 muscles that close/clench your mouth are;
- Masseter (Cheek muscle – said to be the strongest muscle)
- Temporalis (Over the side of your head, placed above your ear)
- Medial Pterygoid (Positioned at the inner surface of chin)
- Lateral Pterygoid (Positioned at the inner side to the jaw joint)
Your special muscle is the Lateral Pterygoid muscle which attaches directly onto the condyle of the mandible and its superior muscle fibres directly attach to the articular disc and funcions to ensure the articular disc stays on top of the condyle where ever and however the jaw moves.
When this beautiful muscle dysfunctions (overactive, underactive, weak or poor motor control) often due to various kinds of jaw/facial/procedural trauma or unwanted habits such as clenching/grinding, jaw can produce popping, clicking noise or associated pain. Also often demonstrates jaw wobbles sideways as one opens mouth wider.
These are all re-trainable and treatable although pace of improvement may depend upon how long or how severely one has had it.
You can definitely make a difference by undergoing specific treatment and self management strategies!