What is TMJ disorder?

If you experience throbbing tension headaches, pain when chewing or speaking, and soreness in your neck and shoulders, you might be experiencing the painful effects of TMJ disorder, an excruciating ailment that affects millions of Americans. This November is TMJ Awareness Month, which means our team will be informing you about Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. If you don’t know much about TMJ, keep reading so you can learn.


What is TMJ disorder?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your jaw to your skull. By using it, you can keep your jaw moving smoothly while avoiding collisions with your skull bones. The cartilage covering the TMJ can become inflamed, eroded, or misaligned when injured or overused.

What are the Symptoms of TMJ disorder? 


  • Pain in the TMJ or jaw muscles
  • Joint sounds such as clicking or popping
  • Limitations in jaw movement
  • Tension in the face or neck
  • Headaches, especially in the temples

What causes TMJ disorder?

A temporomandibular joint works like a hinge, but it also slides. The areas of the jawbones that interact with the temporomandibular joint are covered with cartilage and separated with a small disk that absorbs shock and allows for smooth movement. As a result of TMJ disorder, the disk is either eroded or out of alignment, the joint’s cartilage has been damaged by arthritis, or the joint has been injured physically.

TMJ is often caused by:

  • Jaw misalignment
  • Grinding and clenching (bruxism)
  • Physical injury
  • Stress
  • Arthritis
  • Poor posture

What Should I Do If I Think I Have It?

In case you are experiencing any of these symptoms, the best thing you can do is visit a dentist for a thorough evaluation and to receive a treatment plan. TMJ can cause severe jaw problems if left untreated. There is a possibility that the jaw will become permanently dislocated or stuck open. The longer you wait to seek treatment, the more likely you are to require surgery. Not to mention, you will have to pay for more restorative dentistry work to improve the health of your teeth. Our team is available to help you if you notice any symptoms or need to learn more about TMJ.