TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is a widely used term that is applied to disorders associated with this system.  We have not figured out how to correct all the problems, so we just changed the name to TMD (temporomandibular disorders).   The teeth and the way they occlude (come together) and the jaw joints (TMJs), along with the muscles of mastication in between, make this up.  Frequently, the joints and teeth want to be in two different positions.  Sometimes a battle ensues (clenching or grinding-bruxism) over this with resulting swelling in the joint spaces, overuse of the muscles, or wear of the teeth (attrition).  Swelling in the joints can produce pain, popping. and or locking either in open or closed positions. The popping and pain come from malposition of the cartilage discs in between the bones (meniscus).  Muscle pain is also very common.  This is overuse, typically from grinding at night.  The crowns of the teeth can also be worn away (attrition).  Take heart, conservative treatments are available to reduce and even eliminate these problems.

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