Temperomandibular joint disorder

Other Names:
Temperomandibular joint dysfunction
Aching jaws
Temperomandibular joint disorder is a stress-related condition characterized by clicking in the jaw and pain in the face or neck and is often associated with neckaches and headaches. The jaw may click out of place (perhaps with a slipped disc) or even lock in a closed position. The condition is often painful and normal jaw movements slow to restore. A traumatic physical event, such as yawning very widely, coupled with an uneven bite, or a muscle spasm may be the cause. To a lesser degree many people excessively clench their teeth by contracting their jaw muscles in response to stress or grind their teeth at night. More rarely, the jaw may be damaged by arthritis, which is associated with "crunching" noises.
Perhaps half the population live with some symptoms of temperomandibular joint dysfunction. In the USA it is estimated that 12 million have aching jaws.

Women in their reproductive years are twice as likely as men to get TMD, probably because the production of oestrogen has the effect of loosening their ligaments.

It is estimated that an improper bite accounts for at most 10 to 20 percent of TMD cases.

Practitioners usually blame their patients' emotions for jaw problems.
Problem Type:
G: Very specific problems
Date of last update
28.02.2001 – 00:00 CET