TMJ disease refers to problems with the joints of the jaw. TMJ disease occurs when there has been damage to the actual joint, including the cartilage, soft tissue or bone. One of the most common signs is popping or clicking noises when you open and close your mouth. These noises may occur sporadically, or every time you open and close. The noise occurs as the bones move off and on the cartilage and indicates that some damage has already occurred to the joint. It is important to understand whether the damage was isolated or is ongoing and could result in problems like chronic joint pain or your jaws locking. A joint exam will allow us to better understand the health of the joint and the condition of the cartilage.