Temporomandibular disorders are problems with the joints, ligaments, tendons, or muscles connecting part of your skull (the temporal bone) to your lower jaw bone (mandible). These used to be called TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders.
The temporomandibular joint connects your skull to your lower jaw bone. This joint moves in many ways. It opens and closes and slides backward, forward, and side to side. Chewing creates a large amount of pressure on this joint. A piece of cartilage, called a disk, keeps the skull and the lower jawbone from rubbing against each other.
If you have a temporomandibular disorder, you may get headaches, feel soreness when you chew, or hear clicking when you move your jaw
Doctors or dentists usually find a temporomandibular disorder when examining you
Women in their early 20s and women between 40 and 50 are affected more often
Treatment usually involves a mouth guard and pain relief medicine
Temporomandibular disorders are caused by:
Stress or anxiety sometimes makes the problem worse.
Muscle tension in the jaw can be caused by:
Joint problems in the jaw can be caused by:
Symptoms of temporomandibular disorders can include:
Your doctor or dentist can usually find a temporomandibular disorder by asking about your medical history and doing a physical exam. Sometimes, doctors will:
Do imaging tests, such as MRI, x-rays, or CT scan
Take fluid from the joint to test for infection in the joint
Do a sleep test (polysomnography)
Doctors will have you use:
Doctors will treat the cause of your temporomandibular disorder. Treatments may include:
Most people feel better within about 3 months. Many people recover without treatment within 2 to 3 years.