Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) is a group of conditions that cause pain and loss of normal function to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) or jaw joint. The temporomandibular joint is located in front of the ear, on both sides of the head.
The joint is made up of the lower jawbone and the skull. A cartilage disk, which functions as a shock absorber and joint lubricant, separates these two bones. The TMJ and the muscles of chewing enable you to open your mouth, talk and chew.
TMD can originate from the chewing muscles, cartilage disk or the joint bone.
Normal Closed Position
The lower jawbone is separated
from the skull by a cartilage disk
that acts as a cushion when the
joint is in function i.e. chewing,
speaking and yawning.
Normal Open Position
On the opening of the mouth, the
disk will follow the lower jaw bone
and they will move together when
you move your jaw up and down or
side to side.
In an abnormal joint, the disk can
be displaced or torn. This displaced
or torn disk can cause obstruction
in joint movement. A torn disk can
result in excessive wear of the bone
of the joint, causing inflammation
Causes of TMD can be caused by:
You may experience difficulty in eating
and a sudden inability to close your
mouth, which may or may not be
Seek a consultation with your dentist.
Most common issues are related to
the masticatory muscles. Jaw disk
displacements are also commonly
encountered. Arthritis changes jaw
joints which can also cause jaw
A routine X-ray scan of the upper
and lower jaw helps to rule out
obvious bony lesions. Sometimes,
more complicated imaging may be
TMD may be treated surgically or nonsurgically,
depending on the diagnosis
and the cause.
1. Medications. Some antiinflammation
drugs can be helpful
in reducing the pain associated
2. Therapies. Some TMD symptoms
can be relieved with the use
of a bite guard. A bite guard is
especially useful for patients who
grind their teeth during sleep.
3. Surgery. Surgery may be one
option for patients who do not
respond well to non-surgical
treatment. Surgery may range
from simple washing of the joint
with fluids (arthrocentesis) to
inserting a small scope into the
joint to examine and treat the joint
4. Restoring natural teeth.
Worn-down teeth may need to be
5. Counselling and stress
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