Is Your Pain Associated With Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ, TMD)

jaw pain

Do you have trouble with:

  • a painful, aching jaw,
  • sore, sensitive teeth,
  • stiff neck,
  • tension headaches,
  • morning headaches, or
  • a stiff, tired jaw?

If you experience these issues, you may have a Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ/TMD). TMJ/TMD is a disorder in which your jaw muscles and joints do not function properly, resulting in cycles of pain and spasms that in many cases can be successfully treated.

We asked our assistant, Janet to share her TMJ experience with us.

“When I had TMJ, I would wake up in the morning with a stiff jaw and what I would describe as burning headaches. If I ate any type of chewy foods, especially gum, I would frequently have to stop chewing and rest my jaw. By the evening, my jaw joint would be so stiff I couldn’t even open it without having pain.

I was referred to an orthodontist by my general dentist to be evaluated for TMJ. I was surprised with their findings and recommendations. If I wanted to be pain-free I needed extensive treatment. I would need to have two of my permanent teeth pulled and go through full orthodontics for two years. I decided to go ahead with the orthodontist’s recommendations and my treatment was 100% successful. I currently wear a night guard each night, it has become my new best friend. I now have no food restrictions, no morning headaches, and no stiff, tired or aching jaw.  Although this process can be overwhelming at first, I strongly encourage anyone with TMJ symptoms to have it evaluated. In some cases, it can be treated with only a nightguard.”

It is important to remember that not everyone will need extensive treatment to ease or eliminate their pain. There are many causes of TMJ/TMD including:

  • Misalignment of or trauma to teeth
  • Teeth grinding or clenching
  • Stress
  • Arthritis
  • Excessive chewing

There are may treatment options available, including:


  • Moist heat
  • Ibuprofen
  • Soft diet
  • Night guard
  • Orthodontics
  • Botox
  • Surgery

There are a variety of degrees of TMJ. Some are very easy to treat. If you have any of these symptoms or deal with pain in your jaw, talk to your family dentist to see if TMJ/TMD may be a problem for you. An evaluation is the first step to being pain free!