•  
    2355 Keele St #202 North York ON M6M 4A2 CA

TMJ: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options

Share This Page

The temporomandibular joint, commonly referred to as TMJ, is one of the body’s most complex joints. Here, our North York dentists explain three main types of TMJ disorders (TMD), symptoms and treatment options.

What is TMJ Disorder?

The TMJ is the joint connecting the temporal bones of your skull (located just below your temple, in front of your ear) to your jaw. You use this hinge to do everything from moving your jaw to eating, talking – even breathing.

Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) happen when there is an issue with your jaw and facial muscles. You begin to experience pain in the area and if the disorder progresses to a severe state, the joint may eventually be unable to move.

Types of TMJ Disorder

There are actually three main types of TMJ disorders:

Joint Degenerative Disorders

This joint degenerative disorder, also known as osteoarthritis, occurs when the cartilage that holds the round ends of the two bones in your jaw together breaks or wears away.

Cartilage absorbs shocks during movement and allows your bones to glide over each other easily. When the cartilage deteriorates, you will experience pain and swelling, and you may be unable to move your jaw.

Muscle Disorders

Also referred to as myofascial pain, muscle disorders involve pain and discomfort in all the muscles controlling the function of your jaw. You may also experience pain in your jaw muscles, shoulders and neck.

Joint Derangement Disorders

A soft, small disc located between the temporal bone and the condyle makes the opening and closing of the jaw smooth and easy. This disc is also important as it absorbs shocks to the jaw joint that happen during movement.

When an individual has a joint derangement disorder, the inner workings of the jaw are disrupted or unbalanced due to a dislocated disc or damaged bone.

This displaced disc causes internal derangement of the temporomandibular joint. Currently, there is no surgical solution to this problem.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

With every type of TMJ Disorder, you’ll likely experience pain in your jaw and face. The area around your ears may hurt, and you’ll feel an ache when you open your mouth to eat or talk.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Facial bruising or swelling
  • Problems opening, closing or clenching your jaw
  • Headaches, dizziness or pain in your temples
  • Grinding, clicking or popping sounds when you open your jaw
  • Additional pain in your neck and/or shoulders

When You Should See a Dentist for TMJ Treatment

If at-home remedies like stress reduction, chewing gum, gently massaging your neck and jaw muscles and trying over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) haven't worked, you should schedule a dental appointment.

Before providing an official diagnosis of TMJ Disorder, your dentist will review your dental history, perform a thorough examination of your bite and jaw, and take x-rays. He or she may recommend the following treatments:

  • TMJ therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • Oral Surgery
  • Dental splints
  • Prescription medications

Your dentist can help you manage your TMJ Disorder with a combination of home remedies and attentive dental care.

Are you experiencing headaches, dizziness, or jaw pain? We may be able to provide you with a referral to help. Book an appointment with our North York dentists today.

We're Accepting New Patients. Become a patient at North Park Dental Care today.

Join the North Park Dental Care family, where your smile is our top priority!

Learn More
(416) 245-1616