Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are a result of jaw-related problems. These disorders are sometimes incorrectly called TMJ, which stands for temporomandibular joint.

Temporomandibular Joint

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint. It connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull. Muscles attached to and surrounding the jaw joint control the position and movement of the jaw.

Causes of TMJ / TMD

The causes are not clear, but dentists believe that symptoms originate from problems with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint itself.Other possible causes include:

  • Grinding or clenching the teeth
  • Dislocation of the soft cushion or disc between ball and socket
  • Presence of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ
  • Stress

Symptoms of TMD

Severe pain and discomfort can be temporary or last for many years. More women than men experience TMD / TMJ. It most commonly affects those between the ages of 20 and 40.

Common symptoms:

  • Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear
  • Limited ability to open the mouth
  • Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock”
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth
  • A tired facial feeling
  • Difficulty chewing or a sudden uncomfortable
  • Swelling on the side of the face
  • Toothaches, headaches, neckaches, dizziness, earaches, hearing problems, upper shoulder pain, and ringing in the ears (tinnitis).