Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (TMJ)

  • Medical Author:
    John P. Cunha, DO, FACOEP

    John P. Cunha, DO, is a U.S. board-certified Emergency Medicine Physician. Dr. Cunha's educational background includes a BS in Biology from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a DO from the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in Kansas City, MO. He completed residency training in Emergency Medicine at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in Newark, New Jersey.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Quick GuideDental Health: Top Problems in Your Mouth

Dental Health: Top Problems in Your Mouth

What is temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome?

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome is a disorder of the jaw muscles and nerves caused by injury to the temporomandibular joint. The temporomandibular joint is the connection between the jawbone and the skull. The injured temporomandibular joint leads to pain with chewing, clicking, crackling, and popping of the jaw; swelling on the sides of the face; nerve inflammation; headaches, including migraines; tooth grinding (bruxism); Eustachian tube dysfunction; and sometimes dislocation of the temporomandibular joint. Temporomandibular joint syndrome is also known as temporomandibular joint disorder.

What are the risk factors for TMJ syndrome?

There are several risk factors for TMJ syndrome:

  • Poor posture in the neck and upper back muscles may lead to neck strain and abnormalities of jaw muscle function.
  • Stress may increase muscle tension and jaw clenching.
  • Women 18-44 years of age have increased risk.
  • Patients with other chronic inflammatory arthritis have increased risk.
  • People with jaw trauma or poorly positioned teeth have increased risk.
  • People who have a genetic predisposition to pain sensitivity and increased stress responses may be more susceptible. Continue Reading
Reviewed on 3/29/2016
References
REFERENCES:

American College of Prosthodontists. "Temporomandibular Joint Disorder & Facial/Jaw Pain." <http://www.gotoapro.org/temporomandibular-joint/>.

Scrivani, J., and Noshir R. Mehta. "Temporomandibular Disorders in Adults." UpToDate.com. Aug. 2015. <http://www.uptodate.com/contents/temporomandibular-disorders-in-adults?source=search_result&search=tmj&selectedTitle=1~77>.

"Study Evaluates Risk Factors for Chronic Temporomandibular Joint and Muscle Disoders." National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. 10 Nov. 2011.

"TMJ." Amerian Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery. Dec. 2010.

The TMJ Association. "Arthroscopy." June 18, 2014. <http://tmj.org/site/page?pageId=263>.

"TMJ Disorders." National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. Aug. 2013.

TMJ Hope. "TMJD Pain Management." <http://www.tmjhope.org/tmj-treatment/pain-management/>.

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors