The articular disc is a structural component of the temporomandibular joint. It serves as a kind of shock absorber between the joint surfaces and plays an essential role in the function and health of the joint.
Layout and function:
The articular disc is a thin, disc-shaped structure made of fibrous cartilage tissue. It lies between the joint surfaces and enables low-friction movement of the joint. The articular disc also serves as a buffer to absorb and evenly distribute pressure and loads that affect the joint during movements or when clenching and grinding teeth.
The articular disc plays a central role in the jaw joint, one of the most complex joints in the human body. It enables the lower jaw to move in various ways when chewing, speaking and yawning and protects the joint from excessive wear and tear (e.g. osteoarthritis).
Disturbances or damage to the articular disc can lead to various symptoms such as pain, limited mobility and noise in the joint. A common condition in this context is disc displacement, in which the disc slips out of its normal position. This can lead to clicking noises, pain and impairment of jaw function (e.g. lockjaw).