Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

Also known as: TMD, TMJ

What are temporomandibular joint disorders?

The temporomandibular joint is the area where the lower jaw connects to the base of the skull. It’s surrounded by muscles and ligaments all of which have to work well together. Any condition that impacts any part of the system can cause a problem with the temporomandibular joint.


What causes temporomandibular joint disorders? 

In young children, congenital abnormalities of the jaw can lead to TMD. In children common causes include overuse, a high level of stress or anxiety, grinding or clenching of the teeth, injury from trauma to the jaw or joint, muscles spasms, malalignment of teeth, or arthritis of the joint.


What are the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders? 

Jaw pain, tenderness, swelling around the joint, trouble chewing or locking or catching of the joint, asymmetrical jaw opening are all fairly common symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders.


What are temporomandibular joint disorder care options?

 For minor symptoms, resting the jaw, avoiding hard or any food that causes jaw muscle strain, reducing anxiety or stress, helping your child relax their facial muscles and jaw exercises may be beneficial. Other treatments include medications, physical therapy, oral splints and mouth guards and surgery.

Reviewed by: Jack Wolfsdorf, MD, FAAP

This page was last updated on: 3/23/2018 2:19:56 PM

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Dr. Yamilet Tirado is employed by Pediatric Specialists of America (PSA), the physician-led multispecialty group practice of Nicklaus Children’s Health System. She is a pediatric otolaryngologist/ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist within the Division of Otolaryngology and sees patients at Nicklaus Children's Hospital and the Nicklaus Children's Aventura Care Center.