Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Oral Care

Font Size

Temporomandibular Disorders: Problems With the Disc - Topic Overview

The articular disc provides a cushion between the ball and socket of the temporomandibular (TM) joint camera.gif. It is very common for the TM joint to painlessly click or pop while opening or closing. These sounds are related to the ball (condyle) of the joint passing over the disc as the jaw opens or closes. Such painless noises are not a cause for concern.

As a result of joint stress or injury to the jaw joint, the disc and its band of connective tissue can become stretched out, allowing the disc to shift out of its normal position (disc displacement). As the joint moves, the disc can:

  • Become stuck in front of the condyle, locking the jaw.
  • Fold over itself. Sometimes the condyle then presses on soft tissue that is normally protected by the disc, causing pain and swelling.

Often treatment of a displaced disc will also help relieve the accompanying muscle tension or spasm. Splint therapy temporarily creates space between the TM joint's ball and socket, allowing the disc to gradually return to its original position.

Surgery is rarely appropriate but may be used in severe cases involving disc tearing or chronically disabling disc displacement.

The pain and dysfunction related to a displaced or damaged disc are common temporomandibular disorder (TMD) symptoms. But not all TMDs involve disc displacement. Some TMDs are exclusively muscle-related.

1

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: January 11, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
Next Article:

Temporomandibular Disorders: Problems With the Disc Topics

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

Get the latest Oral Health newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Never
(0)
Good
(1-3)
Better
(4-6)
Best
(7)

You are currently

Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

big smile
Article
Man grinding teeth
Article
 
Close-up of toothbrush
Health Check
how your mouth impacts your health
Slideshow
 

are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
bpa dental sealants
Video
 
Healthy Mouth Slideshow
Video
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Video
 

15 myths and facts about cavities
Video
how healthy is your mouth
Video
 
elmo brushing teeth
fitVideo
5 ways to prevent diabetes dental problems
Video