Do you experience discomfort while eating, speaking, or even just opening your mouth? If so, you may have temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ disorder). It is a disorder that affects the muscles around the jaw joint and causes discomfort, making daily activities more difficult.

It is essential to comprehend the causes, symptoms, and risks of TMJ to choose the best course of treatment. People with TMJ dysfunction could also have headaches, clicking or popping sounds in their jaws, and trouble chewing or completely opening their mouths.

Various factors cause TMJ, including stress, teeth grinding, jaw misalignment, arthritis, and past traumas. Let’s learn about practical management techniques and preventative steps to reduce discomfort, enhance jaw function, and improve the overall quality of life.

What are the Temporomandibular Joints (TMJ)?

Your temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, join your lower jaw and your skull. The lower jaw (mandible) and side and base of the head (temporal bone) are involved in these complex joints, which are situated in front of each ear.

They make it possible to move in various directions, including up, down, side to side, forward, and back. The TMJs assist muscles in performing necessary functions like chewing, talking, yawning, and swallowing.

Different issues, however, may develop when these structures—including the muscles, ligaments, discs, jaw bone, and temporal bone—are out of alignment or unsynchronized.

What is Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)?

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) encompass issues with the jaw muscles, temporomandibular joints, and associated nerves, causing chronic facial pain. TMD may arise when the intricate system of muscles, bones, and joints fails to work in harmony.

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research categorizes TMD into the following:

It is possible to experience one or multiple of these conditions simultaneously.

What Causes TMJ Disorders?

What Causes TMJ Disorders

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) blends a hinge-like movement with sliding motions. Within the joint, the bone surfaces are protected by cartilage and separated by a small shock-absorbing disk, ensuring smooth movement.

Various factors can contribute to TMJ, such as:

What are the symptoms of TMJ Disorders?

The symptoms experienced in TMJ disorders can vary depending on their severity and underlying causes. The primary and most common symptom is jaw pain, which extends to the surrounding muscles.

According to recent research from 2021, additional symptoms commonly associated with TMJ disorders include:

How TMJ Disorders are Diagnosed

How TMJ Disorders are Diagnosed

Diagnosing TMJ disorders can be challenging as there are no standardized tests specifically designed for these conditions. To determine the presence of a TMJ disorder, your doctor can refer you to a dentist or an ENT specialist for a thorough evaluation.

The diagnostic process may involve:

Physical Examination

A healthcare professional will examine your jaw area for any signs of swelling or tenderness.

Imaging Tests

What are the Risks of TMJ Disorder?

There are several factors that can elevate the risk of developing TMJ disorders. These include:

Treatment Options for TMJ Disorder

Treatment Options for TMJ Disorder

Due to the various causes of TMJ disorders, there exists a range of treatment options available to address them. Physicians often suggest starting with home treatments as the initial approach, as some of the more advanced treatments require further research to establish their effectiveness.

Home Treatments

In many cases, the symptoms of TMJ disorders can be managed through self-care practices at home. To alleviate TMJ symptoms, you can:


If home treatments do not provide sufficient relief, certain medications, both over-the-counter and prescribed, may offer more significant benefits. These may include:


Sometimes, your doctor may recommend physical therapy tailored to your specific needs. This could involve:

Surgery or Other Procedures

If symptoms persist despite the above methods, your doctor may recommend more intensive treatments. These can include:


TMJ disorder can cause discomfort and difficulty in daily activities. Understanding its causes, symptoms, and risks is crucial for effective treatment. Diagnosis involves physical examinations and imaging tests. Treatment options include self-care, medication, therapies, and surgery. Early detection and proper management are key. Stay informed and seek professional care to improve your well-being.

Call us at 715-381-9710 to book your appointment at Spring Creek Dental to get more information about TMD today. 


TMJ is primarily activated by factors that impact the jaw. Flare-ups typically arise due to pressure exerted directly on the jaw. The chief contributor to this pressure is often stress. Many individuals are unaware that they habitually clench their jaws and grind their teeth, intensifying the strain on their jaw.

TMJ flare-ups can occur unpredictably, persisting for a span ranging from two days to a few weeks. While opting for soft foods and using cold or hot compresses on the facial region can offer temporary relief from discomfort, it’s important to note that these measures do not provide a lasting solution.

The mentioned methods can help ease TMJ pain and manage discomfort without resorting to surgery: