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TMJ: What is it, and how is it treated?

by | Apr 11, 2024 | General Dentistry

Do you ever experience pain or discomfort in your jaw joint when you eat, speak, or yawn? If so, you might be dealing with a common condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Don’t worry, though! Understanding TMJ and how it’s treated with simple general dentistry solutions can help you manage the discomfort and get back to enjoying life with a smile on your face.

If you think you might be one of the nearly 10 million Americans suffering from this disorder, it’s time to call Miracle Dental in Las Vegas, NV. Our top-rated dentists can help you explore non-invasive solutions for continued relief. So, take the pressure off and call (702) 456-0056 to schedule your appointment now! 

What is TMJ?

So, what exactly is TMJ? Well, TMJ is a disorder of the hinge joint located on either side of the face (the jaw joint). This junction between the jaw and the skull helps us chew our food, speak, laugh, and even yawn. This means that the joint is almost always in motion.

Unfortunately, such a high-activity area is prone to overuse injuries, tension, and pain, resulting in temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMD).

Causes of TMJ

There are several factors and behaviors that can contribute to TMJ disorder, including:

  • Bruxism: Gritting or clenching your teeth, especially while catching some zzzz’s, can put excessive pressure on the TMJ.
  • Stress: Tenseness in the jaw muscles due to stress or anxiety can also contribute to TMJ disorder.
  • Injury: A direct blow to the jaw or whiplash injury can damage jaw joints.
  • Arthritis: Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis can affect the TMJ.

Symptoms of TMJ

Now, let’s talk about the symptoms. If you have TMJ disorder, you might experience:

  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw joint: This can be felt on one or both sides of the face.
  • Difficulty chewing: You might have trouble opening or closing your mouth fully.
  • Clicking or popping noises: These sounds can occur when you move your jaw.
  • Locking of the jaw: In severe cases, the jaw may become stuck in an open or closed position.

Treatment Options for TMJ

So, how is TMJ treated? Fortunately, there are several options available to help alleviate symptoms and improve jaw function. These can include:

Lifestyle Changes

Simple changes like eating soft foods, avoiding chewing gum, and practicing relaxation techniques can help reduce stress on the TMJ.

Physical Therapy

Exercises to stretch and strengthen the jaw muscles can be beneficial. Adjusting your posture can help, too.


Readily available pain relievers (like ibuprofen or acetaminophen) can help alleviate pain and inflammation. In some cases, muscle relaxants or anti-anxiety medications may be prescribed.

Night Guards

If bruxism is contributing to TMJ disorder, wearing a custom-designed night guard while sleeping can help protect the teeth and reduce pressure on the jaw joint.

Splints or Mouthguards

These devices are often used to realign the jaw and alleviate symptoms of TMJ disorder.


Injections of corticosteroids or botulinum toxin (BOTOX®) into the jaw muscles can provide temporary relief from pain and muscle tension.


In rare cases where conservative treatments have failed, dentists may recommend surgery to repair or replace the TMJ.

TMJ Treatment near Las Vegas, NV

It’s important to consult with a healthcare professional – like the team at Miracle Dental – if you suspect you have TMJ disorder. So, don’t wait any longer. Contact Dr. Ann Pham and Dr. Halan Tran online or at (702) 456-0056 now!