The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a small joint formed where the lower part of the skull meets the upper portion of the lower jaw. This joint permits the opening, closing and sideways movement of the jaw. Movement of the joint is controlled by the muscles, tendons and ligaments of mastication (chewing). As a result patients with temporomandibular joint disorders can experience both joint and/or myofascial problems.
TMJ disorders are quite common and have a variety of symptoms. Patients may complain of earaches, headaches, and soreness in the joint area upon eating or waking up, intermittent locking episodes and limited ability to open their mouth. They may also complain of clicking, popping or grating sounds in the joint and feel pain when opening and closing their mouth.
Treatment of TMD can involve multiple disciplines and requires patience, as it often takes time to see improvement.