What Is Your Temporomandibular Joint?

Your temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull, which are in front of each ear.  In other words it is the joint that attaches your lower jaw to your skull.  Your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, allows you to move your jaw up and down and side to side, so you can chew, talk, and yawn. Any problems with these joints can cause pain and difficulty with the motion of your jaw. You have a temporomandibular joint on each side of your face and you can feel them by placing your fingers directly in front of your ears and opening your mouth. You will feel the large rounded ends of your lower jaw. What is so important about your temporomandibular joint? Read on to find out.


Any problem with the functioning of your TMJ is referred to as TMD, temporomandibular joint disorder. The American Dental Association estimates that over 15 percent of American adults suffer from chronic facial pain which may be caused by TMD. Symptoms of TMD can include:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Facial pain
  • Ear aches or tinnitus (ringing in your ears)
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Worn teeth
  • Bruxism (clenching and grinding your teeth)
  • Dizziness
  • Clicking or popping jaw
  • Limited mouth motion


Some causes of TMD include:

  • Trauma to the face, chin, or jaw
  • Misalignment of the teeth or jaw
  • Bruxism
  • Arthritis
  • Stress

A custom-designed night guard is often recommended to relieve symptoms associated with TMD. However, some cases may be more complex and require restorative treatment.

About Your Lake Forest Dentist

Aside from providing dependable general and restorative dentistry services to our community, Dr. James Fondriest also holds respected academic appointments at the Pankey Institute in Key Biscayne, FL, and the Spear Institute in Scottsdale, AZ, and he is an adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Prosthodontics at the University of Florida Dental School. At Lake Forest Dental Arts, Dr. Fondriest combines his impressive array of experience with modern technology and caring, compassionate, knowledgeable staff, and we proudly serve patients from Chacago and all surrounding communities. To schedule a consultation, call our office today at (847) 234-0517.