The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. TMJ disorders can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement. Problems with your jaw and the muscles in your face that control it are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). But you may hear it wrongly called TMJ, after the joint.
Causes of TMJ :
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) combines a hinge action with sliding motions. The parts of the bones that interact in the joint are covered with cartilage and are separated by a small shock-absorbing disk, which normally keeps the movement smooth.
Painful TMJ disorders can occur if:
The disk erodes or moves out of its proper alignment
The joint’s cartilage is damaged by arthritis
The joint is damaged by a blow or other impact
In many cases, however, the cause of TMJ disorders isn’t clear.
Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders may include:
Pain or tenderness of your jaw
Aching pain in and around your ear
Difficulty chewing or discomfort while chewing
Aching facial pain
Locking of the joint, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
TMJ disorders can also cause a clicking sound or grating sensation when you open your mouth or chew. But if there’s no pain or limitation of movement associated with your jaw clicking, you probably don’t need treatment for a TMJ disorder.