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At Brittney K. Craig, DMD, we understand that jaw pain and discomfort can significantly impact your daily life. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ/TMD) is a common condition that affects the jaw joint and surrounding muscles. In this brief guide, we'll explore what TMJ/TMD is, its causes and symptoms, and how we can help you find relief.

What Is TMJ/TMD? The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge-like joint that connects your jaw to your skull. TMJ disorder, often referred to as TMD, is a condition that involves pain, discomfort, and dysfunction of the TMJ and the muscles that control jaw movement.


Causes of TMJ/TMD: TMJ/TMD can have various causes, including:

  • Stress: Bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching) due to stress can strain the jaw joint.

  • Trauma: A blow to the face or jaw can result in TMJ issues.

  • Malocclusion: Misalignment of the teeth or bite can place stress on the TMJ.

  • Arthritis: Inflammatory joint conditions can affect the TMJ.

  • Habitual Jaw Clenching: Frequent clenching or grinding of the teeth can contribute to TMD.


Symptoms of TMJ/TMD: Common symptoms of TMJ/TMD include:

  • Jaw pain or tenderness

  • Clicking or popping sounds when opening or closing the mouth

  • Difficulty opening or closing the mouth

  • Earaches or pain around the ears

  • Headaches or migraines

  • Facial pain or discomfort

  • Pain while chewing

  • Locking of the jaw


Diagnosis and Treatment: If you're experiencing symptoms of TMJ/TMD, it's essential to seek professional evaluation. We will conduct a thorough examination, which may include X-rays or other imaging, to diagnose the condition accurately.


Treatment options for TMJ/TMD may include:

  • Lifestyle Modifications: Stress management techniques, dietary adjustments, and avoiding gum chewing or hard foods.

  • Oral Appliances: Custom-made nightguards or splints to prevent teeth grinding and clenching.

  • Physical Therapy: Exercises and stretches to improve jaw muscle function.

  • Medications: Pain relievers, muscle relaxants, or anti-inflammatories.

  • Orthodontic Treatment: In cases of malocclusion, orthodontic correction may be recommended.

  • Surgery (Rarely): In severe cases where conservative treatments are ineffective, surgical options may be considered.


Your Comfort, Our Priority: We understand that living with TMJ/TMD can be challenging. Our team is dedicated to helping you find effective solutions to alleviate your pain and improve your quality of life.

Schedule a Consultation: If you suspect you have TMJ/TMD or are experiencing symptoms, please contact us to schedule a consultation. We're here to provide the care and support you need to regain comfort and function in your jaw.

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