Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (sometimes abbreviated to TMD or TMJD and also termed temporomandibular joint dysfunction syndrome, temporomandibular disorder or many other names), 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. Although TMD is not life threatening, it can detriment quality of life, because the symptoms can become chronic and difficult to manage. TMD is thought to be very common. About 20-30% of the adult population are affected to some degree. TMD is the second most frequent cause of orofacial pain after dental pain (e.g. toothache).
The TMJ is the joint where your lower jaw joins your skull, right in front of the ear on each side of your head. You exercise the TMJ every time you talk, eat or swallow. As part of your visit to our clinic we check the TMJ to ensure it’s functioning properly. If you have the following symptoms you may have TMJ issues:
- Clicking of the jaw when opening your mouth.
- A grating sound while chewing.
- Difficulty opening or closing your mouth.
- Aching or tender jaws.
- Clenching your jaws or grinding your teeth while sleeping (bruxism).
TMJ problems can arise from arthritis, jaw trauma or joint degeneration. Please let us know if you experience any pain in this joint before or during your visit as diagnosing TMJ pain is quite difficult.