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Injury Definitions

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders
(TMJD or TMJ Syndrome)

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects the mandible (lower jaw) to the temporal bone at the side of a skull. The TMJ enables the jaw to open and close, and also enables the jaw to move forward and backward, as well as laterally. Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD), or TMJ syndrome, is an inflammation of the temporomandibular joint. This can be very painful.

TMJ syndrome is usually caused by tight jaw muscles and grinding of the teeth. Trauma to the jaw can also cause TMJ syndrome. The condition is sometimes the result of a bite'' problem in which your upper and lower jaw are not lined up correctly. A family history of the disorder puts one at greater risk of developing it.

A typical symptom of TMJ syndrome is a dull, aching pain below the ear on one side of the jaw. This pain tends to get worse when one yawns. Pain may move to one's ear, head, or shoulder. A clicking or popping noise may be heard when opening the mouth. In some circumstances the mouth may not open all the way, and your teeth may not line up when you close your mouth.

Treating TMJ syndrome may only require medication. This will usually be a medication to relieve pain and swelling. However, a serious problem with the TMJ may require surgery.

For related information go to: Dental Injuries, Insurance Bad Faith, Motor Vehicle Accidents, Negligence Law, Pain and Premises Liability.

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