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415 Bloor Street West Suite 300
Toronto, Ontario M5S 1X6



Each person has two TMJ joints that are used to open and close our mouths when we chew, talk, and swallow.

The TMJ connects the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull. The lower jaw and the skull are connected by a number of muscles and ligaments, which function in harmony when the lower jaw is in the correct position. The head of the lower jaw bone is called a condyle and it fits into the concavity of the temporal bone called the glenoid fossa and are separated by an articular disc. The two bones of the TMJ are held together by a series of ligaments.

For normal function to occur, a piece of cartilage called an articular disc acts as a cushion or shock absorber between the two bones. Since the disc is attached by muscle, it actually moves with the movement of the TMJ. When the lower jaw opens and closes, the disc stays between the condyle and the glenoid fossa of the temporal bone at all times.

  • With a normal opening, the patient should be able to get three fingers between the upper and lower front teeth when the mouth is open as wide as possible and be relatively pain-free.
  • Put your fingers inside your ears. Open and close several times. If the jaw clicks or cracks, or if you feel a grinding sensation.
  • While looking in a mirror, open very slowly, notice whether or not your jaw swings to one side while opening and closing. Is there any pain present?
  • Slide your jaw from side to side, make note of any pain you may experience.
  • Place your fingers in front of your ears on the joint and apply pressure. Also apply pressure to the cheek area.

If you notice discomfort or pain have your jaw joint checked by a dentist who treats patients with jaw joint disorders!

For more on TMJ Health and Treatments visit the Toronto TMJ Centre's website here.

TMJ - Toronto dentist

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