December 3, 2023

Thrive Insider

Exclusive stories of successful entrepreneurs

TMJ Treatment

Bruxism or teeth grinding in sleep

What Exactly Is TMJ and What Causes It?

Have you experienced discomfort or pain while eating, speaking, or yawning?

If this sounds familiar to you, TMJ disorder could be at play. Although TMJ disorder is quite prevalent and well-known among many individuals, many may remain unaware that they’re affected. If left untreated, it can lead to chronic pain that impacts oral and jaw health adversely, thus making understanding its causes and symptoms vital.

This article will dive into TMJ, exploring its definition, causes, symptoms, and treatment. By the time you’ve finished reading it, you’ll have gained an in-depth knowledge of how to recognize, prevent, and treat TMJ; ultimately empowering yourself to take control of your oral health.

What is TMJ disorder?

The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) serves as the link between your jawbone and skull, enabling the movement of your jaw in various directions for essential activities like speaking, chewing, and yawning.


Complications arising in this joint can cause Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD), resulting in pain, discomfort, and difficulties in performing daily tasks. TMJ disorder affects a substantial number of individuals worldwide, with a higher incidence observed among women compared to men. Typically, it manifests between the ages of 20 and 40.

Causes of TMJ disorder

TMJ disorders may result from various sources. Common triggers may include:


Bruxism: Grinding or clenching of teeth during sleep, particularly bruxism, can place undue stress on the TMJ and lead to TMD.


Arthritis: Both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can impact TMD by causing discomfort and pain in its joint.


Injury: Trauma to the jaw can inflict significant damage on the TMJ, leading to TMD.


Misaligning bite: When teeth do not line up correctly with each other, they may strain on the TMJ and contribute to TMD symptoms.


Stress: Muscle tension in the jaw may develop due to stress or anxiety, leading to TMD. It’s important to recognize that its exact source is often unknown; often manifesting with no clear reason at play.

Symptoms of TMJ disorder

The symptoms of TMJ disorder can vary from person to person and may encompass:


Jaw pain or tenderness: This is the most prevalent symptom of TMJ disorder, characterized by discomfort in the jaw joint, the surrounding muscles, or both.


Clicking or popping sounds: Opening or closing the mouth may be accompanied by audible clicking or popping sounds, resulting from the displacement of the cushioning disc in the TMJ.


Difficulty in mouth movement: Opening the mouth wide, chewing, or speaking may become challenging due to restricted mobility.


Headaches: TMJ disorder can trigger headaches, particularly in the temporal region.


Ear pain or tinnitus: TMJ disorder can lead to ear pain or the perception of ringing or buzzing sounds in the ears, known as tinnitus.

Diagnosis and treatment of TMJ disorder

To determine the presence of TMJ disorder, a physical examination of your jaw and inquiry about your symptoms will be conducted by your dentist or doctor.

Furthermore, they may use X-rays or alternative imaging examinations to acquire a more comprehensive understanding of your jaw joint. Should the need arise, a referral to a specialist, such as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon or a physical therapist, might be made.

The treatment for TMJ disorder will vary depending on the cause and severity of your symptoms. Some commonly employed treatments include:

Pain medication: Non-prescription pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can alleviate pain and reduce swelling.

Night guard: If you experience teeth grinding during sleep, your dentist might suggest a night guard to protect your teeth and reduce pressure on your TMJ.

Physical therapy: Engaging in exercises and stretches can bolster the muscles surrounding your jaw and enhance your range of motion.

Surgery: In severe instances, surgery may be indispensable to repair or substitute the TMJ.

In addition to these treatments, your dentist might recommend implementing lifestyle changes such as stress reduction techniques or dietary modifications to effectively manage your TMJ disorder.

TMJ Treatment in Dickson, Tennessee

TMJ disorder, a prevalent condition, can lead to pain, discomfort, and challenges in carrying out daily tasks. By comprehending the causes and symptoms of TMJ disorder, you can adopt preventive measures and effectively handle this condition.


If you encounter any indications of TMJ disorder, it is advisable to consult your dentist to ascertain the most suitable treatment plan. By integrating self-care strategies, exercises, and dietary adjustments into your routine, you can effectively manage TMJ symptoms and enhance your overall oral health. Remember, tending to your TMJ is a vital aspect of maintaining your general well-being and health.

To schedule an appointment, contact us at 615-446-7878.