Temporomandibular joint

Known as "TMJ" this disorder may be the result of many complex causes.

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) encompasses a wide variety of symptoms, including pain in the region of the jaw joint, joint noise, and limitation of jaw motion.  In the overwhelming majority of TMD cases, pain and discomfort is due to muscle spasm or arthritis.  In many cases, the symptoms may be relieve by a combination of pain control medications, resting the jaw, adoption of soft diet, and applying heat to the muscles.

The symptoms of TMD may be due to other causes, such as an injury, a problem with the cartilage in the joint, or in rare cases, a tumor.  For this reason, comprehensive evaluation by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon includes a detailed medical history and physical, radiographs, and in some cases MRI studies.  It is important to assist the oral surgeon in obtaining a complete and accurate medical history in order to accurately determine the cause of the symptoms and to develop an effective treatment plan.

At Mass General, our oral and maxillofacial surgery center includes advanced specialists in pain control as well as surgical treatment.  This ensures that the patient has access to the best resources for treating TMD pain and relieving the patient's discomfort.

SJ Scrivani, DA Keith, LB Kaban, Temporomandibular Disorders. N Engl J Med 2008;359:2693-705.