Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, commonly called TMJ, affects the joint between the mandible and the skull. It is characterized by pain in the jaw joint and surrounding tissues and limitation in jaw movements.
The temporomandibular joints, located on either side of the head, are used every time we chew, talk or yawn and involve the neuromuscular systems of the TMJ, head and neck. In healthy joints, the ends of the bones are covered with smooth cartilage and are separated by small shock-absorbing discs, which allow the bones to glide easily when the lower jaw is moved. Dysfunction can cause pain in the jaw or face, popping or clicking during chewing, limitation of jaw movement, or headaches. TMJ can develop from wear and tear of the cartilage, arthritis, injuries, dislocations, structural problems in the joint, dental problems or infections.