|The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) located in front of the ear where the skull and lower jaw meet. It permits the lower jaw (mandible) to move and function. Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) refer to a family of disorders affecting the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), masticatory muscles, and the associated structures.
TMJ symptoms are relatively common, occurring in 10-25% of the population; only about 5% of people with symptoms will seek treatment. The primary symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders are facial pain, restricted jaw movement and joint sounds. Temporomandibular disorders may occur at any age, but are more common in women and early adulthood. TMJ disorders are thought to have a multifactorial etiology, but the pathophysiology is not well understood.
Diagnosing TMJ disorders can be complex and may require different diagnostic procedures. The diagnosis is crucial in understanding and treating the problem. Special imaging studies of the joints may be ordered and appropriate referral to other dental or medical specialists or a physical therapist may be made.
TMJ disorder management may range from conservative dental and medical care to complex surgery. Depending on the diagnosis, treatment for this complex joint may include short-term medications for pain and muscle relaxation, bite plate or splint therapy, and stress management counseling. The oral & maxillofacial surgeon can provide surgical treatment of problems that occur within the joint via injections, arthroscopic surgery or open joint surgery depending on the seriousness of your problem.