Jaw Problems: Structural Problems and Injury - Topic Overview
Problems in the structure of the jaw joint include:
- Problems in the bones or other structures of the
joint. These may have been present since birth (congenital), developed over
time, or been caused by injury.
- Problems with the disc that
cushions the joint between the jawbone (mandible) and the skull, such as the
disc moving out of its normal position (disc displacement) or tearing (usually
the result of a long-standing joint dysfunction).
- Arthritis, which
can cause wearing away of the disc or inflammation of the membranes lining the
- Scar tissue within the joint
- In rare cases, tumors in or near the jaw joint.
Injury to the
temporomandibular (TM) joint most commonly occurs when
too much stress is placed on the joint by:
- Chewing hard or chewy foods.
(grinding or clenching the teeth) over a period of time, and especially during sleep.
procedures that require the jaw to be held open too wide for a long
These stressors can cause the articular disc to shift out of its
normal position (disc displacement). Because this disc cushions the joint
between the jawbone (mandible) and the skull, displacement can result in pain
and locking of the joint.
A blow to the jaw, TM joint dislocation, or jaw fracture can also
result in TM disorder symptoms.