The temporomandibular (tem-puh-roe-man-DIB-u-lur) joint (TMJ) connects your jawbone to your skull and acts as a sliding hinge. On each side of your jaw, there is a joint. TMJ disorders, which are a type of TMD, can cause pain in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement.


It’s often hard to specify the cause of TMJ disorder. Genetics, arthritis, or a jaw injury could all be contributing to your discomfort. Although many people habitually clench or grind their teeth and never develop TMJ disorders, some people with jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth (bruxism).


The pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders is usually only temporary and can be relieved with self-care or nonsurgical treatments. Although surgery is usually reserved for the last resort after all other options have failed, some people with TMJ disorders may benefit from it.



TMJ disorders can cause the following signs and symptoms:


  • Tenderness or pain in your jaw
  • Temporomandibular joint pain in one or both joints
  • A throbbing pain in your ear and around it
  • Chewing difficulty or pain while chewing
  • Aching pain in the face
  • The joint becomes locked, making it difficult to open or close the mouth.

When you open your mouth or chew, TMJ disorders can cause a clicking or grating sensation. However, if your jaw clicking isn’t accompanied by pain or restriction of movement, you probably don’t need TMJ treatment.



The hinge and sliding motions of the temporomandibular joint are combined in the temporomandibular joint. A small shock-absorbing disk separates the cartilage that covers the parts of the bones that interact throughout the joint, which normally keeps the movement smooth.

Painful TMJ disorders can occur if:

  • The disk erodes or shifts out of its original position.
  • Arthritis damages the cartilage in the joint.
  • A blow or other impact causes damage to the joint.

However, in many cases, the cause of TMJ disorders is uncertain.


Risk factors

TMJ disorders can be caused by a number of factors, including:


  • Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are two types of arthritis.
  • Jaw injury
  • Teeth grinding or clenching on a long-term (chronic) basis
  • Some connective tissue diseases that can cause problems with the temporomandibular joint.

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