Temprormandibular joint disorders (TMJD) occur when there are problems with the jaw, jaw joint and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull, which is immediately in front of the ears.
The cause of TMJD is not clear but generally thought to arise from problems with the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint itself. For example, injury to the jaw or the TMJ, or muscles of the head and neck, such as from a heavy blow or whiplash can cause TMJD. It can also be caused by grinding or clenching teeth, presence of arthritis in the TMJ, dislocation of the disc between the ball and socket, or stress.
People with TMJD can experience severe pain and discomfort that can be temporary or last for many years. More women than men experience TMJD, and TMJD is seen most commonly in people between the ages of 20 and 40.