The temporomandibular joint (jaw joint) is located in front of the ear, where the skull and lower jaw meet. The joint allows the lower jaw (mandible) to move and function.
The joint itself is made up of two bones that are separated by a disc of cartilage. Ligaments and muscles surround the joint.
Problems with the jaw joint are very common, but typically only last a few months before getting better. In some instances, only the muscles are affected (myofacial pain dysfunction), whereas in others the cartilage and ligaments may also be at fault (internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint).
The most common symptoms are:
- Joint noise, such as clicking, cracking, crunching, grating or
- Pain, usually a dull ache in and around the ear. The pain may
radiate, i.e. move forward along the cheekbone or downwards
into the neck
- Limited mouth opening
Most jaw joint problems are made worse by chewing and are aggravated at times of stress.