Temporomandibular Joint

Author: Dr Peter de Souza
Last modified: 13 December 2020

Temporomandibular Joint

The structure indicated is the temporomandibular joint.

The temporomandibular joint is commonly referred to as the TMJ and is a synovial joint formed between the condyles of the mandible and the articular fossa and articular tubercle of the temporal bones of the skull.

The articular surfaces of the temporomandibular joint are covered with fibrocartilage, and the joint is divided into two parts by the presence of a fibrous articular disc:

  • The inferior part of the TMJ allows depression and elevation.
  • The superior part of the TMJ allows protrusion and retraction.

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD) is an umbrella term which covers several problems relating to the temporomandibular joint, most often involving pain and dysfunctional movement at the TMJ. Many problems can be linked to displacement of the articular disc, degenerative changes (such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis) in the TMJ and problems with the muscles of the mastication.

To learn more about the anatomy of the mandible, click here.

To learn more about the anatomy of the bones of the skull, click here.

To learn about the anatomy of the muscles of mastication, click here.