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TMJ Disorder

What is TMJ? What are the symptoms of TMJ? How do you get TMJ? How is TMJ treated?

The Temporomandibular joint is an area of the jaw that allows for an individual to freely open and close the mouth. It allows for this movement by providing a lubricated space in which two pieces of bone, which are in contact in a “ball and socket” type fashion, glide across each other. Over time, the muscles or bones of this joint can begin to erode or become injured causing this socket to no longer move in such a free manner. In some cases, due to the severity of the degradation of the socket the jaw can lock into place leaving the individual with the painful inability to move the jaw.


The symptoms of TMJ include:

  • Jaw discomfort or soreness
  • Teeth grinding
  • Locking of jaw
  • Ear pain
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

The most common cause of TMJ is teeth grinding. Due to constant pressure applied by teeth grinding to the temporomandibular joint the bones and muscles can begin to degrade causing TMJ. Some other factors include injury to the joint, arthritis, or structural defects of the joint.

Currently, there is no one cure for TMJ. However, there are some methods which have been utilized to relieve the pain. Typically, one should start out with taking basic pain medications such as tylenol or advil. If needed a physician can direct you to purchase a mouth guard to prevent teeth grinding during rest. We recommend a change in some lifestyle habits such as avoiding gum or anything chewy that could irritate the joint. On days of soreness and/or pain applying a warm towel to the affected area can also help in relieving pain.

Some patients have experienced relief from TMJ with botox injections into the muscles surrounding the joint. This measure should only be taken if the conventional methods have failed. If the injections fail to work, some minimally invasive surgical options may be available that can help provide relief.



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