TMJ / TMD Symptoms and Treatment


What is TMJ and TMD?

TemporoMandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder is a medical condition that affects 5% to 12% of adults. Located in front of your ears, the joint connects your jaw and skull and allows you to talk and chew. A TMJ disorder usually involves the disc but may also involve the bone of the joint. A TMJ disorder can be painful but many times it is painless. TMJ disorder is a medical condition that may require treatment such as a “specialized” orthotic appliance (completely different than a store bought night guard or a night guard made by most dentists), short-term medications and physical therapy. We use different types of “specialized” orthotic appliances depending on the specific type of disorder.

TemporoMandibular Dysfunction (TMD) disorder includes the jaw joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and/or nerves. When the masticatory muscles (the muscles that move the jaw) are dysfunctional then, symptoms from mild to severe pain can result within the jaw joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments and/or nerves of the face, head, neck and shoulders.

The term “Myofascial Pain Dysfunction” is used when there pain about the head and neck but there is no TMJ disorder associated with the pain. Myofascial Pain Dysfunction causes muscle pain, forming trigger points or muscle spasms within the muscles of the face, neck and shoulders. Misaligned jaw joints can cause the jaw muscles to become stressed, which can then affect the muscles of the head, neck and shoulders. As a result, headaches, jaw, facial, neck and shoulder pain can occur.

TMJ and TMD Symptoms include:

• Chronic headaches and/or migraines

•Clicking or popping of jaw joint

• Jaw joint pain

• Limited ability to open and close your mouth

• Facial pain

• Neck or shoulder pain or stiffness

• Earaches, stuffiness or fullness

• Tinnitus (ringing in your ears)

• Vertigo (dizziness)

Jaw pain and TMJ

Treatment of TMJ / TMD Disorders

We use a variety of “specialized” orthotic appliances which are specific to the patient’s disorder. 2 to 3 different types of appliances may be prescribed, which are to be worn at different times of the day, in order to treat a TMJ or TMD disorder. When the jaw joint, TMJ, is placed in the correct position the disc can usually be placed into its’ correct position which eliminates the symptoms caused by TMJ/TMD disorders. The appliances used, function and are designed completely different than night guards. Night guards are not designed to treat TMJ or TMD disorders, night guards functions only to protect teeth from wearing down or from fracturing.

Therapeutic treatments are used to reduce inflammation and pain, increase circulation, decrease swelling and muscle spasms to help muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments and tissues heal. Therapeutic treatments include: electrical stimulation, ultrasound, phonophoresis, iontophoresis, trigger point injections, prolotherapy injections, moist heat and spray & stretch technique.

You do not need to suffer from TMJ or TMD symptoms any longer. Call Bay Area TMJ and Sleep Center today to schedule a comprehensive evaluation.