Image Gallery

What is TMJ/TMD?

"TMJ" stands for TemporoMandibular Joint, or the jaw joint. There are two TMJs, one in the front of each ear, connecting the lower jaw bone (the mandible) to the skull. The joints allow movement up and down, side to side, and forward and back-all the mobility necessary for biting, chewing and swallowing food, for speaking and making facial expressions.

Joint and muscle disorders (TMDs) refer to a complex set of conditions that can cause pain in the area of the jaw joint and associated muscles and/or problems using the jaw. Both or just one of the TM joints may be affected.

TMDs can affect a person's ability to speak, eat, chew swallow, make facial expressions and even breathe. When untreated, it can cause other parts of the face, head and neck to hurt, even though the tissues are intact and do not have a problem in and of themselves.

What Causes TMD?

TMD can be caused by trauma such as strains, sprains, injuries, or the teeth not meeting properly.  The teeth can appear to be perfectly straight, but the patient may still have a problem because the alignment (occlusion) does not match with the correct jaw joint or muscle position. 

A common perpetuating factor found in TMD, chronic pain and fibromyalgia can be sleep related.  It could be something as simple as a snoring or jerking awake at night due to snoring or sleep apnea.

How Can TMJ disorders be treated?

Once the TMJ disorder is properly diagnosed, each patient is designed a custom program for their specific needs.  Treatment can include the following:

·       Custom fabricated orthotics (splints) to eliminate muscle spasm and pain by stabilizing the TM joints in the appropriate position

·       Physicial medicine modalities (MLS laser, spray and stretch or therapeutic massage)

·       Nutrition counseling

·       Stress management

·       Jaw exercises

·       Electrical treatments

·       Prolo therapies

Cotreatment with other professionals may also be recommended, such as chiropractors, ent's, physical therapists, etc.

What are the symptoms of TMJ disorders?

Seemingly  “incurable” headache, ear pain or facial pain could be generated by your jaw joints, bite and/or spasm in the facial muscles.  Often patients endure a frustrating and expensive “search” for answers and relief of these symptoms:

  • Chronic headaches
  • Ear fullness or pain
  • Dizziness
  • Clicking, popping or grating in jaw joint
  • Limited jaw opening or locking
  • Pain when chewing
  • Facial pain
  • Neck pain or stiffness
  • Tired jaws
  • Difficulty closing the teeth together
  • Swallowing difficulty and snoring
  • Clenching/bruxism

With a TMJ Disorder, a number of related symptoms can arise. One of these symptoms is facial pain, often called atypical facial pain, or even trigeminal neuralgia.  The jaw area of the face is a complex network of bones, joints, muscles, and nerves. When the jaw becomes unaligned, the surrounding bones, muscles, and nerves are also affected. This includes the nerves that serve the face.  The discomfort can be experienced as anything from a dull ache in the muscles to sharp stabbing pains, usually just from touching the face or chewing.