Harvard Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Procedures

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ)

Did you know . . . ?

Three to five percent of Americans seek professional advice annually for temporomandibular disorder (TMD).

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) encompasses a wide variety of symptoms, including pain in the region of the jaw joint, joint noise, and limitation of jaw motion. In the overwhelming majority of TMD cases, pain and discomfort is due to muscle spasm or arthritis. In many cases, the symptoms may be relieved by a combination of pain control medications, resting the jaw, adoption of soft diet, and applying heat to the muscles.

The symptoms of TMD may be due to other causes, such as an injury, a problem with the cartilage in the joint, or in rare cases, a tumor. For this reason, comprehensive evaluation by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon includes a detailed medical history and physical, radiographs, and in some cases MRI studies. It is important to assist the oral surgeon in obtaining a complete and accurate medical history in order to accurately determine the cause of the symptoms and develop and effective treatment plan.