TMJ or TMD Disorder

The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is the joint that connects the jaw and the muscles that are used to chew. It connects the lower jaw to the skull.

When a person has TMJ problems, he or she experiences pain and discomfort. These problems are referred to as TMJ disorders or TMD disorders. More women than men are affected, and even though the problems are temporary or occasional, Washington Smiles offers treatment.

Symptoms of TMJ or TMD disorders

  • Jaw soreness, stiffness, or pain
  • Jaw pain while yawning, chewing, or biting
  • Difficulty closing or opening the mouth
  • ”Locking” of the jaw in the open or closed position–restricted range of jaw movement
  • Sore, tender, or painful jaw joint
  • Bruxism (grinding or clenching teeth while sleeping or while awake)
  • Earaches without having an ear infection
  • Popping, clicking, grating, grinding sounds in the jaw joint when closing and opening the mouth
  • Burning sensations in the mouth or tongue
  • Frequent unexplained headaches that are oftentimes diagnosed as migraines
  • Sensitive teeth and toothaches without having dental problems
  • Cracked or broken teeth that occur without an apparent cause
  • Radiating or aching pain near the head, neck, shoulders, and face

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with our dentists to get evaluated for TMJ disorders. Get the relief you need today.

? What causes TMJ disorders?

Contributing factors to TMJ disorders include:

  • Stress
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Disease (gout, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, etc)
  • Trauma to the head, face, neck, or jaw
  • Bad oral habits
  • Bad posture
  • Medical procedures that hold the jaw open unnaturally or those requiring intubation
  • Bruxism

Treatments for TMJ and TMD disorders

If TMJ or TMD disorders are present, we will determine which treatment methods are right for you. Making simple adjustments may be the best initial step so try these on your own:

  • eating soft foods
  • practicing relaxation techniques to reduce stress
  • maintaining good posture
  • keeping the jaw relaxed
  • avoiding hard, sticky foods (i.e. gum)
  • avoiding wide yawns
  • getting plenty of sleep
  • maintaining a healthy diet
  • drinking plenty of water
  • applying moist heat or cold packs to the jaw area
  • exercising
  • massaging the shoulders, neck, and facial muscles
  • taking over-the-counter pain medications, if needed

More aggressive treatments are also available from our dentists, such as:

  • mouth guards or splints
  • reconstructive surgery
  • orthodontics
  • prescription anti-inflammatory medications
  • prescription muscle relaxants
  • Jaw joint or disc replacement

If you need treatment for TMJ disorders, we can help you find relief. Call us today.