Temporomandibular (TM) disorder is a condition in which a person feels pain and discomfort in the muscles and joints that connect the lower jawbone (mandible) to the skull. These flexible muscles and joints are felt right in front of the ears and are needed to talk, chew, swallow, and yawn.
The most common cause of TM disorder is tension in the muscles that control the jaw, such as from clenching the jaw or grinding the teeth. TM disorder can also result from a joint problem present at birth, injury, or arthritis.
Common symptoms of TM disorder include:
Treatment for TM disorder may include rest, the use of anti-inflammatory drugs, and physical therapy. In some cases, splints or bite blocks might be used for a short period of time. Surgery or dental work are rarely necessary.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise