Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ)

What is temporomandibular joint dysfunction?

The temporomandibular (TMJ) joint is what allows people to talk and chew comfortably; over-exertion of this joint can lead to a variety of disorders referred to as temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD).

  • The TMJ is the most constantly used joint in the body.
  • Minor problems can be caused by teeth clenching and grinding that often occur as a result of emotional stress or anxiety.
  • This can trigger joint symptoms, as well as spasm of the chewing muscles, headaches and neck pain.
  • If your child has trauma in his lower jaw, it can cause rapid shearing of the joint, which may require treatment.

How we care for temporomandibular joint disfunction

Less pain, faster recovery

The surgeons at the Center for Robotic and Minimally Invasive Surgery at Boston Children's Hospital are dedicated to helping your child get better faster.

Arthrocentesis is a minimally invasive procedure to treat TMD.

  • Two needles are inserted through the skin into the temporomandibular joint space and sterile fluid is injected to break up adhesions and to cleanse the joints.
  • Medications to lubricate the joint may be added at the end of the procedure to help reduce inflammation or pain.