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TMD / TMJ Definition

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull. Temporomandibular joint disorder, known more commonly as TMD, occurs when there are problems with the muscles and jaws in the face.

Sign & Symptoms

There are many signs and symptoms of TMD. It’s often hard to know for sure if you have TMD, because one or all of these symptoms can also be present for other problems. Your dentist can help make a proper diagnosis by taking a complete medical and dental history, conducting a clinical examination and taking appropriate X-rays.

Some of the most common TMD symptoms include:

  • Pain in the face, jaw or ear area
  • Headaches (often mimicking migraines), earaches, and pain and pressure behind the eyes
  • A clicking or popping sound when opening or closing the mouth
  • Jaw that “gets stuck,” locked or goes out of place
  • Tenderness of the jaw muscles
  • Trouble chewing or biting
  • Swelling of the face
  • A sudden change in the person’s dental occlusion (the way the upper and lower teeth fit together)