ZocdocAnswersWhere is one's TMJ?

Question

Where is one's TMJ?

Where exactly is the TMJ? I'm a young guy and I've been having a lot of problems with my jaw (especially in the morning), so I've been reading about TMJ disorder - but it seems like the pain can appear anywhere from the throat to the head.

Answer

TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint, which is the joint located in front of the ear that connects the mandible (jaw) to the skull. TMJ disorder, or syndrome, refers to inflammation or dysfunction of this joint, which can result in a variety of symptoms due to the location of the joint in relation to other structures of the face. Patients often suffer from soreness or pain in the joint itself; this pain is often "referred" beyond the exact area of the joint to involve the ear, the sides of the head, and further down the jaw and into the neck. Many patients also experience difficulty with opening the mouth widely or with repetitive motions such as chewing. Other patients experience a "clicking" with jaw movement, and some will even get temporary "lockjaw" in which the joint becomes immobilized for a period of time. If you are experiencing symptoms such as these, you could have a component of TMJ syndrome causing your problems, and you should follow-up with your dentist for further work-up and treatment.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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