What is Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ or TMD)?

Tanuja Bisht

, Health A2Z

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD, TMJD) is a term used for the pain and dysfunction of the muscles of mastication (muscles that move the jaw) and the temporomandibular joints (joints which connect the mandible to the skull).


The most important feature of TMD is a pain, followed by restricted mandibular movement, and noises from the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) during the jaw movement.


Although the temporomandibular joint dysfunction is not life-threatening, it can be detrimental to the quality of life, because its symptoms become chronic and difficult to manage.


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Temporomandibular joint dysfunction

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What is Temporomandibular Joint Disorders?

The temporomandibular joint is a hinge part that connects the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull, which are in front of each ear. It lets you move the jaw up and down and side to side so that a person can talk, chew, and yawn.


Problems with the jaw and muscles in the face that control it are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD).


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What are the Causes of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders?

The actual cause of the disorders are unknown but dentists believe some symptoms arise from problems with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint itself.


Injury to the jaw, joint, or the muscles of the head and neck such as from a whiplash or heavy blow can lead to TMD. Its other causes include;

  • Clenching or grinding teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the joint.
  • Movement of the soft disc or cushion between the ball and socket of the joint.
  • Arthritis in the joint.
  • Stress, that causes the tighten of facial and jaw muscles or clench the teeth.


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What are the Symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders?

There are several symptoms of the disorders including;

  • Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear.
  • Problems in opening mouth wide.
  • Jaws that get stuck or lock in the open or closed-mouth position.
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew. This may or may not be painful.
  • A tired feeling in your face.
  • Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite.
  • Swelling on the side of the face.




What are the Home Treatments for Temporomandibular Joint Disorders?

There are several things you can do on your own to ease TMD symptoms. Your dentist may suggest you try some of these remedies together.

  • Take over-the-counter medications.
  • Use moist heat or cold packs.
  • Eat soft foods like yogurt, mashed potatoes, soups and scrambled eggs.
  • Avoiding extreme jaw movements.
  • Learn relaxation techniques.


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