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What is TMJ disorder?

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is an ever-growing condition that affects the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the associated muscles involved in jaw movement and chewing. It is a broad term that encompasses various conditions affecting the jaw joint and surrounding structures. TMD can cause significant discomfort and impact a person's daily activities. The exact cause of TMD is often multifactorial and may include factors such as jaw injury, previous orthodontic treatment, misalignment of the teeth or jaw, bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching), stress, or arthritis.


Research suggests that Temporomandibular joint disorder can affect up to 5-12%. There are studies that have reported even higher incidences up to 25%, 33% and even 40% in the general population. Of these patients experiencing TMD, less than 5% seek professional advice and treatment. It is more commonly reported in women, although it can affect individuals of all ages and genders.


Please note that TMD symptoms can vary from person to person, and this list is not exhaustive. Here are some common symptoms of Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD):

  • Jaw pain or discomfort
  • Jaw clicking or popping
  • Limited jaw movement
  • Headaches
  • Ear pain or ringing
  • Facial pain
  • Neck and shoulder tension
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Changes in bite
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Difficulty opening the mouth fully


Treatment for TMD aims to alleviate symptoms and improve jaw function. It often includes self-care measures such as applying heat or cold packs, avoiding hard or chewy foods, practicing relaxation techniques, and performing jaw exercises. Dental treatments such as occlusal splints or orthodontic interventions may be recommended, and in some cases, medications or injections can be used to manage pain and inflammation. In severe cases of TMD, jaw surgery may be considered as an option.

In summary, temporomandibular disorder is a condition that affects the jaw joint and associated muscles, causing various symptoms and impairing daily activities. Prompt diagnosis and a comprehensive treatment approach can help manage TMD and improve the individual's overall well-being.

Works Cited