The diarthrosis between the temporal bone and mandible that includes the condyloid process below separated by an articular disk from the glenoid fossa above and that allows for the opening, closing, protrusion, retraction, and lateral movement of the mandible.
(TMJ) is the area directly in front of the ear on either side of the head where the upper jaw (maxilla) and lower jaw (mandible) meet.
A group of symptoms that may include pain or tenderness in the temporomandibular joint or surrounding muscles, headache, earache, neck, back, or shoulder pain, limited jaw movement, or a clicking or popping sound in the jaw and that are caused either by dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (as derangement of the articular disk) or another problem (as spasm or tension of the masticatory muscles) affecting the region of the temporomandibular joint.
Temporomandibular joint disorders
include a range of problems related to this joint. The prevalence of TMJ disorders in children is less than in adults, but the prevalence increases with age, such that 33% of adults experience at least
one TMJ symptom.
Signs of TMJ disorders include
The habit of unconsciously gritting or grinding the teeth especially in situations of stress or during sleep.
, wear of the occlusal surfaces of the teeth due to tooth grinding, joint sounds (clicking and crepitus), and limited mandibular opening. Pain, including TMJ pain or headache, may occur but is not always present.
Referral to a dentist or other professional knowledgeable in treating TMJ disorders is appropriate. The evidence for TMJ disorder treatment in children is controversial. Treatment is usually initiated when pain is present and may include non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, a soft diet, warm compresses, occlusal bite guards, counseling, and physical therapy. Simple lifestyle changes such as avoiding opening the mouth too wide, not resting the jaw on a propped-up arm, decreasing gum chewing, and rotating ears during cell phone use can reduce TMJ discomfort.