TMJ Disorders

What does TMJ stand for?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joints. These joints are positioned on each side of your jaw, acting as hinges that attach your jawbone to your skull. TMJ is also the term for a type of temporomandibular disorder that causes pain in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles that control jaw movement.

What is TMJ and how do I treat it?

TMJ is a temporomandibular joint disorder in which earaches, intense facial pain, chronic headaches, a stiff neck, and/or soreness in the jaw are caused by misalignment of the jaw and chewing muscles. This common condition can rarely be alleviated with over-the-counter medications, but there are a variety of solutions available today that are effective in bringing relief to your pain and an end to this often-debilitating condition.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Greenbaum and our team in Bethesda, MD, so they can assess your situation and create a comprehensive TMJ treatment plan that would address not only the symptoms but the root of the problem. We provide TMJ therapy that relieves your pain and halts further harm to your jaw and teeth.

Why is TMJ so painful?

If you suffer from wearing jaw pain, chronic headaches, face and neck pain, constant clicking and popping when you chew, migraines, or earaches, chances are your bite is misaligned. When your jaw joints aren’t working together with the surrounding muscles, painful symptoms result. Thankfully, there are effective treatments that correct temporomandibular joint issues, providing much-needed relief. What is the most effective treatment for TMJ?

There are a variety of solutions for TMJ, and the one that will work best for you depends on your unique jaw and the causes of the condition. When you come in for a consultation, we’ll be able to accurately diagnose your issue and establish a treatment place accordingly. TMJ therapy often involves a combination of treatments, and most require time to be most effective in restoring your jaw’s function and reducing the discomfort. Our dentists work with other dental professionals to ensure you receive comprehensive care.

Home Remedies for TMJ

While you are waiting for your scheduled appointment with Dr. Greenbaum, you can try to relieve some of your discomfort with anti-inflammatory pain relievers and self-care treatments, such as:

  • Applying ice or heat.
  • Eating soft foods.
  • Resting your jaw.
  • Keeping space between your teeth when not eating or swallowing.

Splints, Nightguards, and Stress Management

Once your jaw has been evaluated, we may recommend stress management techniques to help reduce the amount of time you spend grinding and clenching your teeth. We may also suggest splints that fit over your lower teeth and/or upper teeth and keep them apart and help to relax the surrounding muscles, reducing the pain.

Nightguards aid in reducing the amount of tension you experience when clenching and grinding at night. They also protect the joint surfaces and cartilage. Additionally, we offer appliances that help to move your jaw forward, relieving pressure on your jaw. We often provide patients with orthodontic appliances that can be worn 24 hours a day to move your jaw back into its proper position.

Surgical Options for TMJ

Surgery, such as arthroscopy and open joint repair restructuring, is reserved for the most severe cases, those situations in which you can not open your jaw, your jaw is dislocated or has extreme degeneration, or all other treatments with appliances have failed.

Is TMJ a medical or dental problem?

TMJ is an oral problem that results from an assortment of reasons, including:

  • Clenching or grinding your teeth.
  • Tightening your jaw muscles to the point of stressing your jaw joint.
  • Disease, such as arthritis.

When the joint is damaged, the muscle ligaments are stretched or torn, or the disk of cartilage slips out of position, symptoms may include:

  • A misaligned bite
  • Pain
  • Trouble opening your mouth
  • Clicking or grating noise when you open your mouth

Do I have TMJ?

You may have a TMJ disorder if any of the following are true for you:

  • You grind or clench your teeth.
  • You wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaw.
  • You have headaches and neck aches often.
  • The pain increases when you clench your teeth.
  • You notice your pain and clenching are worse when you’re stressed.
  • Your jaw pops, grates, catches, clicks, or locks when you open your mouth.
  • You experienced an injury to your neck, head, or jaw.
  • You have a difficult time opening your mouth to eat or yawn.
  • Your teeth no longer touch when you bite.


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