TMJ – Jaw Dysfunction

Unexplained headaches, ear pain, neck pain and nerve pain can be caused by TMJ, or jaw dysfunction. Many times, this pain comes from a dental origin.

How the jaw joints and muscles work

The joints and muscles on both sides of your jaw help to open and close your mouth. These joints can move in several different directions, allowing you to talk, chew and swallow. The hinge joints formed by the lower jaw and temporal bone of the skull is one of the most complex joints in the body. They work together with muscles, cartilage, ligaments and jaw bones in a fragile balance. When something prevents these parts from working together in this delicate way, it is likely that pain may occur.

We offer a variety of sleep appliances. very customized to individual needs.

Signs and symptoms

TMJ is a condition, and not a specific disease. It can have many different signs and symptoms, which range from mild to severe, including: tender jaw muscles; pain in or around the ear; difficulty opening or closing the mouth; clicking or popping noises in the jaw; pain when chewing or yawning; headaches; or jaw joints that feel like they are locked or stuck.

What causes TMJ?

There are several issues that may be linked with this condition. Tooth grinding, arthritis, stress, and jaw or head injuries are just a few of them.

Treating TMJ

To determine how to treat your specific condition, Dr. Gehring or Dr. Schmidt will conduct a complete evaluation. This includes checking the joints and muscles for any tenderness, popping, clicking or difficulty moving. The dentist may also take X-rays and/or make a model of your teeth to see exactly how your bite fits together.

Once the dentist has completed the evaluation, he may recommend several different things to help ease any painful symptoms. This could include eating softer foods, modifying the pain with heat or ice packs, and minimizing jaw movements like yelling, yawning and singing.

If necessary, a night guard or bite plate will be made to decrease grinding and clenching of teeth. Your dentist may also give you specific exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles as well as medicines to reduce pain and inflammation. Ultimately, we will do whatever it takes to help you manage any painful TMJ symptoms.