How TMJ Affects the Function of Your Jaw
Sometimes, the disc can slip out from between the bones, often because of damage to the ligaments that hold the disc to the condyle. The most common cause of damage to these ligaments is injury or clenching of your teeth. Most often, the joint will slip forward.
If the disc has slipped, it will usually slide back into place when the jaw opens to a certain point. This may cause a popping or clicking noise. Other times, the disc may not slide back into place, causing closed lock of the joint—your jaw won’t open fully. When your jaw closes, the disc will silently slip out of place again. This means that rather than the disc, the joint is putting pressure on the soft tissue that attaches the disc to the skull. This tissue isn’t designed to take pressure like the disc is. You may feel pain from the nerves in the tissue, and the blood may bring the chemicals that cause an inflammatory response to the pressure. And if this soft tissue tears, your bones will be resting on one another, which can cause grinding, arthritis, and a total loss of joint function, but the most common complaint that is not pain related, is a clicking jaw or popping jaw.