Skip directly to content

TMJ / TMD Treatment

TMJ / TMD Treatment

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ, TMJD or TMD) cause tenderness and pain in your jaw, face, and head and neck.

These disorders occur as a result of problems with the temporomandibular joint, which is the hinge joint on each side of your head in front of your ears that connects the lower jawbone to your skull.

Possible causes of the disorder are:

  • Injury to the jaw, the joint or muscles of the head and neck such as from a heavy blow or whiplash
  • Grinding or clenching your teeth
  • Dislocation of the ball and socket
  • Arthritis in the TMJ
  • Stress

Certain causes may also affect your bite, which in turn may require corrective dental treatment. We can improve your bite by balancing the surfaces of your teeth, replacing missing teeth or replacing fillings or crowns. Maintaining a stable bite is essential to your oral health and ensures that your teeth will come in contact in the most pain-free manner possible.

Head, Neck and Facial Pain

That ongoing headache or earache you experience could be caused by issues with your jaw joints or bite. This can be difficult to diagnose, but our team is dedicated to proper diagnosis and treatment to combat this pain effectively and successfully.

Symptoms of pain caused by TMJ can include:

  • Frequent headaches or neck pain
  • Jaw pain and tired jaw muscles more prevalent in the morning or late afternoon
  • Clicking noise when you open or close your mouth
  • Difficultly opening and closing
  • Jaw pain when chewing or yawning; jaws have locked up
  • Earaches or ringing in the ears without infection or other cause
  • Clenching and grinding (increases with stress)
  • Sensitive, broken, or worn teeth when no dental problems exist
  • Teeth do not fit together

To properly diagnose TMJ issues, we need to perform a complete head and neck evaluation, as well as a complete health history check, x-rays and other tests as needed. Our multi-disciplinary approach to effective diagnosis includes custom orthotics, stress management, medications, modality therapy and referral to other healthcare specialists if necessary. Our office understands the importance of a team approach with physicians and sleep centers, so we can provide successful, long-term care solutions.

Sleep Apnea and Snoring

There is a connection between TMJ disorders and sleep disorders. Over 90 million Americans have snoring problems, most are adults over the age of 40. If this develops into obstructive sleep apnea, a wide range of problems from sleep disturbance to more serious health issues can result. Sleep Apnea is instigated when the soft tissue in the back of your throat relaxes while you sleep, causing interruptions in breathing. These interruptions usually last between 10 to 20 seconds each and can occur up to hundreds of times a night.

Common symptoms:

  • Loud, chronic snoring and long pauses in breath
  • TMJ soreness upon awakening
  • Choking or gasping while sleeping
  • Feeling tired and sleepy thoughout the day
  • Waking up with headache, dry mouth or sore throat
  • Insomnia or constantly waking during the night
  • Forgetfulness, irritability or depression

Problems that can develop from untreated sleep apnea:

  • Chronic tiredness from sleep deprivation
  • Slower reflexes, poor concentration
  • High blood pressure and weight gain
  • Health issues such as diabetes and heart disease

As dentistry is an integral part of sleep medicine, we work together with physicians to provide effective diagnosis and treatment for sleep disorders.

TMJ Links:

Dr. Peter Dawson —
American Equilibration Society —