top of page
  • drdaviddc

"TMJ Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment Options"

TMJ disorder

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder, also known as TMD, affects the jaw joint and the surrounding muscles and ligaments. It can cause pain, tenderness, and discomfort. Let’s delve into the causes, symptoms, and available treatment options for this condition.

Causes of TMJ Disorder:

  1. Teeth Grinding (Bruxism): Excessive teeth grinding or clenching from stress can strain the TMJ and lead to dysfunction.

  2. Jaw Injuries: Trauma to the jaw, such as accidents or blows, can disrupt the joint.

  3. Arthritis: Inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis can affect the TMJ.

  4. Connective Tissue Problems: Issues with the joint’s cartilage or surrounding tissues.

  5. Genetics: Some individuals may be predisposed to TMJ problems.

  6. Stress: Emotional stress can contribute to jaw tension and pain.

  7. Improper sleeping posture: Sleeping in a position where your head is buried in the pillow can cause the jaw to be forced out of alignment while sleeping.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder:

  • Limited Jaw Movement: Difficulty opening or closing the mouth fully.

  • Jaw Tenderness: Pain or discomfort around the jaw joint.

  • Locking of the Jaw: The jaw may get stuck, making it hard to open or close.

  • Jaw Pain: Pain in the TMJ area, which can radiate to the face, neck, or ear.

  • Stiff Jaw Muscles: Reduced flexibility in jaw movement.

  • Clicking or Popping Sounds: Audible noises when moving the jaw.

  • Malocclusion: Upper and lower teeth not fitting together properly.

  • Ear Pain: Severe pain around the ear.

  • Headaches: TMJ dysfunction can cause headaches.

  • Pain During Chewing: Discomfort while eating.


  • Physical Examination: Assessing jaw movement, pain, and sounds during motion.

  • Dental X-rays: To examine teeth and jaw.

  • CT Scan: Detailed images of the joint’s bones.

  • MRI: Reveals issues with the joint’s disk or soft tissue.

  • TMJ Arthroscopy: Direct visualization of the joint using a camera.

Treatment Options:

  1. Medications:

  • Pain Relievers and Anti-inflammatories: Over-the-counter or prescription medications.

  • Tricyclic Antidepressants: Used in low doses for pain relief and bruxism control.

  • Muscle Relaxants: Alleviate pain caused by muscle spasms.

  1. Therapies:

  • Oral Splints or Mouth Guards: Soft or firm devices worn over teeth.

  • Physical Therapy: Exercises, ultrasound, moist heat, and ice.

  • Counseling: Understand aggravating factors (e.g., teeth clenching, biting nails).

  1. Surgical or Other Procedures:

  • Arthrocentesis: Minimally invasive irrigation of the joint to remove debris.

  • TMJ Arthroscopy: Camera-assisted diagnosis and potential treatment.

  • Modified Condylotomy: Surgery for locking issues.


  • Avoid Overuse: Be mindful of excessive jaw muscle use.

  • Learn TMJ Exercises: Strengthen and stretch jaw muscles.

  • Avoid Yawning Widely: It can strain the joint.


  • Treatment: to the soft tissues of the muscles of mastication.

  • Alignment: of the jaw in all ranges of motion using manual and soft touch techniques.

  • Alleviation: of trigger points caused by misalignment.

  • Ergonomic: improvements to your daily sleep posture.

  • Most patients feel some relief following treatment, however, patient response to care may vary.

Remember, if you experience symptoms of TMJ Disorder, seek medical attention promptly. Your healthcare provider can guide you toward effective management strategies. 🌟

23 views0 comments


bottom of page