What Is TMJ?
The term TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint. Your temporomandibular joints are your jaw joints located in front of your ears on either side of your face. So, asking the question, “What is TMJ?” is like asking, “What is knee?” but the term has become so familiar that even healthcare providers use it instead of clinical terms such as temporomandibular joint disorder and TMD.
When they function normally, your TMJs enable you to open and close your mouth in a pain-free, fluid motion and allow you to chew, talk, and yawn comfortably. Just like all the other joint systems in your body, your jaw joints are moved by muscles and stabilized by ligaments. And, like any other joint, pain and stiffness can occur when there are problems in their muscles and ligaments.