TMJ or the temporomandibular joints are the joints and jaw muscles that allow your mouth to open and close. These joints help you check, swallow and speak by working together. The mandible or lower jaw is controlled by the TMJ allowing it to move as needed.

The TMJ is on each side of your head and includes a disc between a ball and socket. Any problems with these three from functioning properly can result in a painful TMJ disorder.

Possible causes of TMJ & TMD:

  • Arthritis
  • Dislocation
  • Injury
  • Tooth and jaw alignment
  • Stress and teeth grinding or clenching

Your dentist may check joints and muscles for any symptoms of TMJ before treatment including clicking, popping, muscle tenderness or difficulty moving. 

Luckily, there are quite a few treatments for people suffering from TMJ disorders. Bit guards and possible surgery for severe cases and just correcting an uneven bite can fix TMJ. For some people needing more extensive work, an orthodontic treatment may be needed.