TMD/TMJ Therapy

Is Jaw Pain the Norm?

If jaw pain is a part of your everyday life, it may be your personal equivalent of “normal.” The truth is, jaw pain is far from normal and may be a symptom of temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD. Under normal conditions, the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which joins your upper and lower jaw, functions without pain. When disease or misalignment occurs, the TMJ becomes inflamed — which is what causes pain.

Man with jaw pain

Symptoms of TMD

Chronic jaw pain is the most common symptom of TMD, but there are others that may seem completely unrelated to your jaw, such as:

  • Headaches and earaches
  • Neck, shoulder, or back pain
  • Ringing of the ears or dizziness

Because many of these are symptoms of other health conditions, TMD can be difficult to diagnose.

TMJ Therapy

For many patients, the pain tends to worsen during times of increased stress and when they are clenching their teeth, as opposed to grinding.

  • Diagnosis

    Treatment of TMD begins with a comprehensive clinical examination, including x-rays, to check your face, jaws, bite, joints, and teeth. Dr. Miller will check for pain and tenderness and listen for clicking or popping when you open and close your mouth, swallow, or chew. If the disorder is diagnosed, a bite splint or mouth guard is usually recommended as the initial treatment.

  • Treatment Application

    Our bite splints or mouth guards are custom-created plastic mouthpieces designed to fit over your upper and lower teeth. This type of device prevents the grinding and clenching that often causes or exacerbates TMD. The splint also realigns the jaw, removing stress on the surrounding area. Dr. Miller may recommend that you wear the mouthpiece at all times for an initial treatment period, or a night guard may be prescribed for some patients.

  • Extensive Treatment Options

    If a misaligned bite or missing teeth are the cause of your symptoms, we may recommend orthodontics or restorative dental work, such as crowns, implants, or dentures. If your bite is placing undue pressure on the TMJ’s, your doctor may reshape individual teeth to redistribute bite force evenly and allow the muscles to function properly. If you do not respond to conservative treatment, Dr. Miller may refer you to an oral surgeon or other specialist.

Concerned looking woman with Jaw Pain

How Dentistry Can Provide Relief

After diagnosing the source of your jaw pain, we can offer several treatment options that will put an end to your discomfort. From stretches to loosen the jaw muscles to orthotic devices to correct jaw misalignment, you’ll find relief that will bring the smile back to your face.