Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) is the name given to a number of problems related to jaw movement and pain in and around the jaw joints. The jaw joints, or temporomandibular joints (TMJ), connect the lower jawbone (mandible) to the skull (maxillary bone).
Symptoms can include:
Pain with chewing or yawning
Pain or difficulties opening or closing your mouth
The clicking experienced from TMD is caused by the mandible bone sliding over the articular disc that sits on top of it. The disc is cartilage that is viscous and glides with the mandibular bone as it rolls and slides on the maxillary bone when you open and close your mouth.
If your jaw just recently started clicking, manual therapy techniques can help reposition the disc back into the position it should be in.
If you have had the clicking for a long time, the muscles may have adapted and the disc is likely permanently displaced. Disc displacement is common. 26-38% of people with no pain have disc displacement.
If your jaw is clicking and you have no pain it will most likely stop clicking once your disc has remodelled itself around age 45.
Sometimes the disc can slide forward and get stuck there; this is called disc displacement.
If you have any of the symptoms listed above, you may have a Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD).