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Q: "I often wake up with pain and my jaw and have discomfort when chewing.  Is this TMJ and is it treatable?"

This image is of a woman holding her jaw, experiencing TMJ pain.

The term TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint, the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw to the temporal bone. This allows you to talk, chew and yawn.  When problems develop in this joint it’s described as Temporomandibular Joint Disfunction (TMD).

Symptoms that suggest TMJ/TMD can include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the face and jaw or ear

  • Limited ability to open the mouth wide

  • Jaws that get stuck or lock

  • Clicking, popping or grating sounds

  • Difficulty chewing

  • Swelling

  • Toothaches, headaches, dizziness, neck and head discomfort

The causes of temporomandibular disorders are not clear and treatment is controversial. Many people can recover with no or little treatment but not everyone. Following an exam, needed radiographs and a confirmed diagnosis of TMD, we start by educating our patients on their condition.


Then we look at possible treatments, the most conservative and cost efficient first followed by discussion and possible treatments that include:

  • Appliance Therapy- “mouth guard”

  • Adjusting your bite

  • Crowning the teeth

  • Orthodontics/Braces


Often the correct treatment is a multi-disciplinary approach. We have experts that we work with on a daily basis that can provide additional therapy including acupuncture, massage therapy, ultrasound, TENS therapy, medication, and injections to help "unlock" the jaw. 


Call us to schedule a consultation or to answer any questions you may have.

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