Your temporomandibular joint unites your lower jaw with your skull. The surrounding muscles allow you to move your jaw up, down, sideways and around. Soft disks of cartilage between the ball and socket portion of the joint allow you to open your mouth smoothly to speak, yawn and eat
Temporomandibular joint disorder, also called TMD or TMJ, is a type of a disorder when your jaw has moved out of alignment, which prohibits jaw joints from working smoothly. You can feel your TMJ by placing your fingers in front of your ears on each side of your face. Your jaw joints are very complex mechanisms that allow you to open your mouth via ball and socket like joints that connect your jaw to your skull. When there is damage or misalignment in the TMJ, you can experience a wide range of symptoms, including:
Most of the times it is difficult to determine a singular cause of TMJ disorder. In many patients it can be caused by a combination of factors such as genetics, jaw injuries or pre-existing health conditions like arthritis, periodontal disease and diabetes.
Some common causes of TMD include:
TMD symptoms can range from mild to severely debilitating, and include:
You can experience some of these symptoms with or without actually having TMD/TMJ. You could have a transient pain or pathology that requires follow up with a medical specialist. It is important to rule in or out your jaw and facial muscles as the source of your pain.