Advertisement

What are the temporomandibular (tm) joints?

The temporomandibular joints are located on either side of the jaw (mandible), just below the temples. They are two of the most frequently used joints in the body. Without these joints, we would be severely hindered when talking, eating, yawning, or kissing. Any examination of the head and neck should include the temporomandibular joints.

(This answer provided for NATA by the Georgia College & State University Athletic Training Education Program.)
The temporomandibular joints are among the most complex joints in the body.

Two joints and several jaw muscles make it possible to open and close the mouth. They work together when you chew, speak or swallow. They include muscles and ligaments, as well as the jaw bone -- the mandible (lower jaw) with two joints called the temporomandibular joints or “TMJ.” Each TM joint has a disc between the ball and socket. The disc cushions the load while enabling the jaw to open widely and rotate or glide.
The temporomandibular joint is a hinge that connects your jaw to the side of your head. Place a finger just in front of one ear, and open and close your mouth. That movement you feel is your temporomandibular joint in action. The temporomandibular joint is essential in eating, talking, yawning, and other movements your mouth makes. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is a common condition that produces pain in the jaw, headaches, and other symptoms.

Continue Learning about Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

What is temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ/TMD)?
John Van der Werff, DDSJohn Van der Werff, DDS
It is a dysfunction that is related to the joint between the lower jaw and head which is right in fr...
More Answers
How do the temporomandibular joints (TMJ) work?
American Dental AssociationAmerican Dental Association
Two joints and several jaw muscles make it possible to open and close the mouth. They work together ...
More Answers
Is temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMJ) serious?
RealAgeRealAge
Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMJ) causes mild to severe pain in the jaw joint an...
More Answers
If my jaw pops or clicks, does that mean I have TMJ?
John Van der Werff, DDSJohn Van der Werff, DDS
TMJ is a group of conditions related to the TMJ. Popping and clicking can be one of the signs of TMJ...
More Answers

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.