TMJ Pain

Understanding TMJ Disorders

What is TMJ?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint and refers to the most persistently used joint in the body—the part of your mouth that acts as a hinge, attaching your jawbone to your skull. This joint is responsible for the movement of the lower jaw, and when its muscles and joints are not working in tandem as they were designed to do, problems leading to pain and functional impairment result. The TMJ allows us to open our mouths and eat, chew, breathe, and talk.

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What are the Causes of TMJ Disorders?

• Trauma to the jaw
• Erosion, displacement, or dislocation of shock-absorbing disks located in the jaw
• Teeth grinding (bruxism) and clenching of teeth
• Stress that causes tension in the jaw and facial muscles
• Damaged cartilage due to arthritis

TMJ Pain and Common Symptoms

TMJ is an umbrella term that covers a variety of issues with the jaw’s joints and muscles, so just as issues vary from patient to patient, so do symptoms. If you suffer from any of the following, please call and set up a consultation with us today.

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• Locking of the jaw
• Clicking or popping of the jaw
• Aching pains around or in the ear
• Pain or tenderness in the jaw
• Difficulty chewing
• Facial pain
• Ringing in the ears
• Headaches or dizziness

Treatments for TMJ

The first step in treating TMJ is determining the possible source of the pain and what factors may be contributing to the affected area. Treatments typically consist of the following:

• Night Guards and Splints
• Stress Management
• Relaxation Techniques
• Surgical Treatment: corrective jaw surgery, arthroscopy, open joint repair restructuring
• Botox: Botulinum Toxin A
• Homecare: soft foods, warm compresses, OTC medication

Day Guards for Daytime Teeth Grinding and Clenching

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Teeth grinding most commonly occurs when you are sleeping, but some people grind their teeth while they are awake. If you have found that you clench or grind your teeth during the day, there are ways to get your daytime bruxism under control. Reducing stress, considering orthodontic treatment for a misaligned bite, and cutting back on your caffeine and alcohol consumption can significantly work to diminish your grinding.

Treating nighttime bruxism with mouth guards is highly effective, but they are too bulky to wear during the day. However, we offer extra thin acrylic dental day guards that are almost unnoticeable and do not impede your speech.

Night (Occlusal) Guards

You can find out more about our night guards here.

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TMJ FAQs

Is TMJ causing my headaches?

We cannot determine for certain the cause of your headaches without having you come in for an evaluation first, but TMJ is known for causing headaches. When we are stressed and clench our teeth, we put extra pressure on our jaw joints and start a cycle of facial contractions that results in TMJ.

Who Is At Risk for TMJ?

Women are 4 times more likely to get TMJ than men, and the disorder occurs most often between the ages of 20-40.

What Are Some Home Remedies for TMJ?

The following home remedies have proven quite successful when treating normal TMJ cases:

• Using relaxation techniques, such as massage, to reduce stress.
• Applying hot or cold packs to the sore joint.
• Refraining from foods that lead to additional stress
• Indulging in essential oils and aromatherapy that relaxes muscles and relieves pain

When is Surgery Required?

We recommend surgery for TMJ for only the most severe cases. If our initial steps to improve your condition still result in discomfort, we will then recommend surgery with a TMJ specialist.


If You Are Experiencing TMJ Pain, Request an Appointment:

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