Injury to the temporomandibular joint

Injury to the temporomandibular (TM) joint most commonly occurs when too much stress is placed on the joint by:

  • Chewing hard or chewy foods.
  • Bruxism (grinding or clenching the teeth) over a period of time.
  • Dental procedures that require the jaw to be held open too wide for a long time.

These stressors can cause the articular disc to shift out of its normal position (disc displacement). Because this disc cushions the joint between the jawbone (mandible) and the skull, displacement can result in pain and locking of the joint.

A blow to the jaw, TM joint dislocation, or jaw fracture can also result in TM disorder symptoms.

Last Updated: January 13, 2010

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