The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a joint located in front of the ear where the skull and lower jaw meet. It permits the lower jaw (mandible) to move and function. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder is a condition in which the joint connecting the jaw to the skull is not functioning correctly, is inflamed or symptomatic. This may cause many problems, including headaches, migraines, pain at the joint, a jaw that locks, clicks and pops, and or earaches.
TMD symptoms can often be related to stress, with many patients reporting job-related issues corresponding with the onset of their symptoms. This “stress”, in a large segment of the population, often leads to clenching or grinding (bruxism), either during the day or night. Some people demonstrate this habit without a known cause, including children. The first line of defense against TMD is simply to wear a nightguard. This treatment often alleviates symptoms and discomfort associated with TMD.