What Causes TMJ Pain? (How to Get Relief Without Surgery)
TMJ disorders are fairly common. In fact, it’s estimated Opens new tab to article12% of Americans are experiencing a TMJ disorder at any given time.
Yet, we keep asking the question, “What causes TMJ pain?”
It seems there is never a clear answer or better yet, a permanent solution for the pain.
But that’s all about to change in this blog.
What is TMJ? What is TMD?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the connection between your jawbone and your skull. You have one joint on each side of your jaw, located in front of your ears. Think of it as a hinge, opening and closing your mouth and moving it side to side.
When your TMJ is impaired, it can cause temporomandibular disorder (TMD). This disorder is often mistakenly referred to as simply “TMJ.”
Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders
The most obvious symptom of TMD is pain associated with jaw movements, such as chewing, yawning, and talking.
Other signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders include:
- Jaw clicking or popping
- Locking of the jaw joint
- Ear pain or earaches
- Popping in ears
- Headaches or migraines
- Facial pain
- Swollen sides of your face
- Difficulty eating
- Tooth grinding (bruxism)
- Stiff or sore jaw muscles
What causes TMJ disorder?
We know TMJ disorder is caused by an impaired temporomandibular joint, but what exactly caused that to happen in the first place?
There are many different ways you can come about TMJ disorder. Sometimes, the answer is unclear. Whereas other times, we can narrow it down to these possible Opens new tab to Mayo Cliniccauses for TMD:
- Physical injury (heavy blow or whiplash)
- Arthritis in the joint
- Grinding or clenching your teeth
- Autoimmune diseases
- Poor posture
- Misaligned bite
It could also be hormonal, genetic, or even environmental.
What causes TMJ pain?
The actual pain associated with TMJ disorders may be linked to one or more components that make the temporomandibular joint function. That could include:
Cartilage: The areas of jawbone and skull that interact with the TMJ are covered in cartilage. It is possible this cartilage could be damaged by arthritis.
Disk: Separating your jawbone and skull is a small, shock-absorbing disk. If this disk erodes or moves out of alignment, it could cause pain.
Joint: If the joint itself is damaged, it could be the cause of pain.
How do you confirm TMJ?
The first step is to listen to your body. If something doesn’t feel or sound right, it’s usually best to get it checked out by a professional – but it’s important you choose a doctor wisely.
Often times, you may find medical professionals will give you home remedies to ease your symptoms, stating it will go away on its own.
The problem here is they are not addressing the source of your problem, and you are more likely to experience repeat symptoms.
At our dental office in McLean, VA, we aim to fix the root cause of TMD. How?
Neuromuscular dentistry focuses on improving your bite and jaw alignment, which thereby relieves your pain and tension.
Some of Dr. Kazerooni’s patients had previously been told they needed corrective surgery to fix their TMD. Thankfully, Dr. Kazerooni was able to resolve their TMJ disorder without surgery.
How we helped Miss Maryland without surgery
When Simone Feldman, Miss Maryland USA 2010 came to Dr. Kazerooni, she was apprehensive given her past experiences with unsuccessful doctors and one doctor’s advice that she needed jaw surgery. But Simone knew Dr. Kazerooni was going to be different when our dentist took the time to listen to Simone explain her problem.
From there, Dr. Kazerooni performed a complete evaluation of Simone’s TMJ problem, taking a neuromuscular dentistry approach – seeing how her smile and face worked in tandem with her temporomandibular joints.
Through advanced technology, our exceptional McLean dentist identified the root cause of Simone’s pain. Using a custom orthotic and following a personalized treatment plan, Dr. Kazerooni improved the balance between her smile’s alignment and bite, and her joint – permanently relieving pain and tension.
Now, Simone lives a full life without TMJ pain and even looks forward to her dental visits with Dr. Kazerooni.
Non-surgical treatments for TMJ disorders
Dr. Kazerooni’s TMD treatments are minimally invasive and can involve a variety of treatments, including:
She uses neuromuscular technology to analyze your temporomandibular joints, occlusion, and alignment to create a custom treatment plan that meets your needs, timeline, and budget.
Need more convincing?
Hear how a custom orthotic improved Linda’s life the very first night she wore it:
Ready to get rid of TMJ pain?
Just imagine: Waking up pain-free, never having to deal with home remedies or worrying when your TMJ symptoms might flare-up.
That’s possible with our neuromuscular dentist in McLean, VA. With effective, non-surgical treatment options, Dr. Kazerooni can help you put your TMJ pain and problems in the past for good.
We are proud to be the go-to dentist and TMJ doctor for residents near McLean, VA, including Tysons Corner, Reston, Vienna, Oakton, Falls Church, Great Falls, Arlington, and the Metropolitan DC area.
Contact Sherry Kazerooni, DDS for a TMJ/TMD consultation today: