Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Temporomandibular Disorders: Problems With the Disc
The articular disc provides a cushion between the ball and socket of
the temporomandibular (TM) joint. It is very common for
the TM joint to painlessly click or pop while opening or closing. These sounds
are related to the ball (condyle) of the joint passing over the disc as the jaw
opens or closes. Such painless noises are not a cause for concern.
As a result of joint stress or injury to the jaw joint, the disc and
its band of connective tissue can become stretched out, allowing the disc to
shift out of its normal position (disc displacement). As the joint moves, the
Often treatment of a displaced disc will also help relieve the
accompanying muscle tension or spasm. Splint therapy temporarily creates space
between the TM joint's ball and socket, allowing the disc to gradually return
to its original position.
Surgery is rarely appropriate but may be used in severe cases
involving disc tearing or chronically disabling disc displacement.
The pain and dysfunction related to a displaced or damaged disc are
temporomandibular disorder (TMD) symptoms. But not
all TMDs involve disc displacement. Some TMDs are exclusively
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerArden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015
Current as of:
November 20, 2015
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Arden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2016 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.