Simply Dentistry of the North Shore | Dentist in Great Neck, New York

TMJ Disorders

TMJ Disorders | Simply Dentistry of the North Shore, NY

TMJ Disorders

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders affect the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), TMJ disorders are a common problem, affecting over 10 million people in the United States.

What is the Temporomandibular Joint?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. It acts like a sliding hinge, allowing you to move your jaw up and down and side to side, which is essential for actions like talking, chewing, and yawning. The TMJ is one of the most complex joints in the body, consisting of a combination of muscles, ligaments, discs, and bones.


It's located just in front of your ears, and you can feel it by placing your fingers on the sides of your face and opening and closing your mouth.


Symptoms of TMJ disorders can include jaw pain or tenderness, difficulty chewing, clicking or popping sounds in the jaw joint, and locking of the jaw joint.


These disorders can be caused by a variety of factors, including arthritis, jaw injury, or clenching and grinding of the teeth (bruxism).

Treatment for TMJ disorders may include pain medication, muscle relaxants, physical therapy, or splints or mouthguards to help align the jaw properly.

Types and Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

TMJ disorders can manifest in several ways, each with its own set of symptoms. Some common types of TMJ disorders include:


Myofascial pain: This condition involves discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function. Symptoms may include jaw pain, facial pain, earaches, and headaches.


Internal derangement: This refers to a dislocated or displaced disc or cushion between the jawbone and the socket. Symptoms may include clicking or popping sounds when opening or closing the mouth, limited range of motion in the jaw, and locking of the jaw.


Arthritis: TMJ arthritis can cause pain and swelling in the joint. It may also lead to stiffness, difficulty chewing, and a grating sensation when moving the jaw.

Traumatic injuries: Injuries to the jaw or joint can result in TMJ disorders. Symptoms may include pain, swelling, and difficulty moving the jaw.

Bruxism: This is a condition characterized by clenching or grinding of the teeth, which can put excessive pressure on the TMJ and surrounding muscles. Symptoms may include jaw pain, headaches, and worn-down teeth.

Symptoms of TMJ disorders can vary depending on the type and severity of the condition but may include:

  • Jaw pain or tenderness. 
  • Difficulty chewing.
  • Clicking or popping sounds in the jaw joint.
  • Locking of the jaw.
  • Facial pain.
  • Earaches.
  • Headaches.
  • Neck pain.

If you experience any of these symptoms, it's essential to see a dentist or doctor for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing TMJ disorders typically involves a thorough examination by our dentist.


During the exam, our experts will check for tenderness or pain in the jaw joint, listen for clicking or popping sounds when you move your jaw, and assess your jaw's range of motion.


In some cases, imaging tests such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs may be recommended to get a closer look at the TMJ and surrounding structures.


Once a diagnosis is made, treatment for TMJ disorders can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the underlying cause.


Treatment may include:

Pain medication: Over-the-counter or prescription pain relievers may be recommended to help alleviate discomfort.


Muscle relaxants: These medications can help relax the muscles in the jaw and reduce pain.


Physical therapy: Exercises to strengthen and stretch the jaw muscles may be beneficial in some cases.


Mouthguards or oral splints: These devices can help align the jaw properly and reduce clenching or grinding of the teeth.


Lifestyle changes: Avoiding hard or chewy foods, practicing stress-reduction techniques, and maintaining good posture can help reduce symptoms.


Surgery: In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace the joint.


With the right approach, most people with TMJ disorders can find relief from their symptoms and improve their quality of life.


If you're experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorders, Simply Dentistry of the North Shore is here to help. 


We offer comprehensive evaluations to diagnose TMJ disorders accurately. Our team will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that addresses your specific symptoms and concerns.


Whether you need pain management strategies, oral appliances to help align your jaw, or guidance on lifestyle changes to reduce symptoms, we're here to support you every step of the way.

Don't let TMJ disorders impact your quality of life. Schedule a consultation with Simply Dentistry of the Nort

Simply Dentistry of the North Shore

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