Jaw Pain

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is the joint of the jaw. There are two TMJs, one on each side of the jaw, and they work in unison to open and close our mouths and allow us to chew and speak. A TMJ disorder (or TMD) is a chronic degenerative condition that can take years to develop and have serious consequences to your health and quality of life. When your jaw is misaligned, it can cause headaches, neck, and/or shoulder pain, clicking and/or popping sounds in the jaw, locked jaw, jaw pain, teeth grinding, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and tingling fingers.

Teeth Grinding

Many patients grind or clench their teeth, a habit medically known as bruxism. While grinding from time to time might not cause harm, frequent grinding can create issues for your teeth and cause other oral health complications. Teeth grinding can stem from stress and anxiety, though it often develops during sleeping hours and is more likely to be the result of an abnormal bite, missing teeth, or crooked teeth. Sleep apnea, a sleeping disorder, can also be responsible for teeth grinding habits. As grinding typically occurs when you sleep, it is unlikely you will be aware of this tendency unless a symptom of bruxism, such as a constant headache or sore jaw is encountered. Speak to our dentist at your next appointment if you believe you may be grinding your teeth because they can examine your mouth and jaw for signs of bruxism, including jaw tenderness and excess wear on your teeth. Continual teeth grinding can produce fracturing, loosening, deterioration, or loss of teeth for some patients. If left untreated, you may need a dental bridge, crown, root canal, implant, partial denture, or even complete dentures in certain instances. A great way to help prevent further complications from occurring is to ask our office, at your next dental appointment, for a customized mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding as you sleep.

Clicking Or Locked Jaw 

Your temporomandibular joint is located directly next to each of your ears, responsible for connecting your jaw to your skull and allowing your mouth to speak, chew, and yawn. When your jaw is clicking or locking, you might be experiencing a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). This occurs when your jaw joint is harmed or inflamed due to an injury, inflammatory disorder, or other issue. Ideally, the temporomandibular joint operates as a smooth hinge so your jaw can move in a natural, free motion. Inflammation or harm impairs the movement, forcing your jaw to click or lock, while also making it a challenge to open your mouth. Some cases of TMD can be helped by lifestyle choices, for example, no longer chewing gum. You can also assist your recovery by reducing stress, utilizing a night guard that will treat teeth grinding, eating softer foods, and using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. In more severe cases of TMD, you might require treatment from a dental professional, especially if it was caused by an oral injury or inflammatory disease. Surgical treatments are rare and are only recommended if all other alternative treatments were ineffective.



When you come in for your appointment, we will assess your teeth and mouth for any visible signs of wear. If there is an issue, we will use a few different methods to understand why the issue is happening and to develop a customized treatment plan for you. Some of the methods we use to determine if you have a bite issue, include a complete oral exam, panoramic x-rays, model of your mouth using our 3-D scanner, and high-definition photos.


Depending on your situation, there are generally 2 ways to correct a TMJ dysfunction. One solution is to use braces and possibly other orthodontic appliances to correct the position and development of your jaw. The 2nd option is to establish a physiologic bite position using an appliance for 2-3-weeks. Then using crowns to restore your teeth to their healthy position. It is always best to treat TMD as early as possible to prevent future oral health issues.

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