The TMJ Sleep Center
The TMJ is the most complex joint in the human body. Placed between these two bones is a disc, just like the one between your back bones. This disc is primarily made of cartilage and the disc functions like a third bone. The disc, being attached to a muscle, actually moves with certain movements of the TMJ.
The nerve to the TMJ is a branch of the trigeminal nerve and therefore, an injury to the TMJ may be confused with neuralgia of the trigeminal nerve. The two bones of the TMJ are held together by a series of ligaments, any of which can be damaged, just like any other joint.
A damaged TMJ ligament usually results in a change in the position of the disc, the lower jaw, or both. Also, the bones are connected by two main muscles: the temporalis, the masseter. Any or all of these muscles may be painful and produce pain in the TMJ or at the very least, abnormal movement of the lower jaw.