What is temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder?

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder is a condition which can lead to severe pain and disability if left untreated. The TMJ is essentially the primary joint of the jaw which has an articular disc that slides between the two bony surfaces. If this disc does not glide properly within the joint it can cause deviation, locking or clicking, and pain of the jaw. The pain felt from TMJ disorder usually originates just in front of either ear and can progress to a severe headache.

TMJ disorder is a medical condition that affects the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jaw to the side of the head. TMJ disorder causes pain and stiffness in the jaw and facial muscles, and in extreme cases can cause the jaw to become locked in place. Other symptoms of TMJ disorder include headaches and difficulty chewing food. The exact cause of TMJ disorder is often hard to determine, however, you may be more likely to develop TMJ disorder if:
  • you’ve suffered a trauma to the jaw, such as in a car accident
  • you grind your teeth during the day or night
  • you develop arthritis or another condition that affects the movement of your jaw
Your doctor can prescribe treatments to help relieve the pain and other symptoms of TMJ disorder.
If you wake up in the morning with a dull, deep headache (which may or not subside during the day), it may stem from a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. These flexible joints, found on each side of the head just in front of the ear, connect the lower jaw (mandible) to the temporal bone of the skull. The articular disk allows smooth movement of this joint. Whiplash or a heavy blow to the jaw can trigger this painful disorder, which leads to tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck, and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your mouth wide.
TMJ disorder is any problem that prevents th complex temporomandibular joint system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working properly. Located on each side of the head, they work together to make many different movements, including a combination of rotating and gliding actions used when chewing and speaking as well as opening and closing the mouth.

Some common symptoms include pain in or around the ear, tenderness of the jaw, clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth, or headaches and neck pain.

It is a disorder that is related to the joint between the lower jaw and head which is right in front of the ear. It may include symptoms of pain in front of the ear, inability to open completely, or an inability to open and close the mouth in a smooth straight motion.

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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.