The temporomandibular joint is the hinge connecting the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull. The temporal bones are located in front of the ears. This joint allows you to move your jaw up, down, and side to side, giving you the ability to talk, yawn, and chew. When problems occur with the jaw and the muscles of the face that control it, this is known as a temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD. Some people may refer to it as TMJ, in reference to the joint it concerns. Although it is not known what exactly causes TMD, health professionals and Tampa dentists believe that the problems come from the jaw muscles, or the parts of the joint. Injuries to the jaw, the temporomandibular joint, the head and neck muscles, such as whiplash or heavy blows, can contribute to the development of TMD. Additionally, tooth grinding or clenching, movement of the disc between the temporomandibular joint, muscle tightening due to stress, and more can cause TMD. This condition results in intense pain and severe discomfort, and may be temporary or long-lasting. It can affect both sides of the face, but sometimes may only affect one side. Interestingly enough, TMD seems to affect more women than men, and is more prevalent in people between the ages of twenty and forty years old.