What is a TMJ?

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ)

The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects the jaw to the skull. It is a complex joint as it allows for movement up and down as well as from side to side. The joint is comprised of skull and jaw bones, cartilage cover the skull and jaw bone, tough but mobile articular disc with neurovascular areas and finally muscles of jaw movements.

Injury or damage to this joint is known as temporomandibular joint disorder (shortened to TMJ disorder). You may experience pain, functional dysfunction or both from the condition.

Causes for TMJ disorder are varied and include:

  • Arthritis (disc, cartilage or bone)
  • Injury from trauma
  • Grinding/clenching of teeth
  • Genetic predisposition
  • A combination of the above

What are some types of tmj pain?

It can be difficult to diagnose TMJ disorder, with many of the symptoms attributable to other illnesses.

The most common symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Earache
  • Pressure and pain behind the eyes
  • Brief restriction of movement of jaw, like locking
  • Pain upon opening your jaw too far or yawning
  • A toothache, pain in the face, neck and shoulder area

These pains can vary from sharp, electric like which last seconds to constant aching or burning sensation.