Temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) are a set of more than 30 conditions that cause jaw joint and muscle discomfort. “TMDs” are disorders caused by the temporomandibular joint (“TMJ”). Everyone has two TMJs, one on each side of the head just in front of the ears. Muscles and ligaments surrounding and attached to the TMJ control its movement. Problems with any of these structures can lead to TMDs.
There are several different types of TMDs, but all involve pain or discomfort in the jaws, face, or neck. TMDs can also cause problems with chewing, biting, or swallowing. Some people with TMDs also have headaches or earaches. TMDs are very common.
Some of the most common symptoms of TMD include pain in the jaw joint, pain in the muscles around the jaw, locking of the jaw, and clicking or popping sounds when you open or close your mouth. Most cases of TMD are caused by problems with how the teeth fit together (called malocclusion), but other causes can include arthritis, injuries to the jaw, and infections.