What is TMJ Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment?

TMD is a complex network of related muscle and anatomical problems that impair healthy jaw function. Because everything is so tightly packed in that area, these anomalies of the jaw often coexist with conditions like migraines, ear pain, nerve inflammation, and teeth grinding. Continue reading to know more about the particular causes, techniques, and TMJ symptoms in Denver for diagnosing and treating TMJ.

What is TMJ Disorder?

The general term for a collection of illnesses affecting the muscles, nerves, and temporomandibular joint—which joins your lower jawbone to your skull—is temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders or TMJ. Chewing, speaking, and swallowing are just a few of the essential jaw functions that can be very painful and impaired by TMJ. The temporomandibular joint is a complicated structure made up of blood vessels, nerves, ligaments, discs, and muscles that must all cooperate to allow for normal jaw movement.

Causes of TMJ

While there are many different and frequently complex reasons for temporomandibular joint disorders, problems that impact the joint itself (intra-articular) or nearby structures (extra-articular) are typically the root cause. Intra-articular reasons include inflammation and arthritis in the tissues surrounding the joints, as well as disc displacement or problems with movement inside the jaw joint. Extra-articular reasons include facial bone fractures, muscular cramps or spasms from clenching or overuse, nerve compression, and early or misaligned tooth contact.

Intra-Articular Causes

The discs inside the temporomandibular joints that divide the skull from the lower jawbone might move or dislocate when there is internal derangement. This disc malfunction can cause jaw movement to pop or click painfully, and limit the range of motion. Excessively loose jaw ligaments that permit movement beyond the usual range are referred to as hypermobility. This condition causes inflammation, joint instability, and dislocations. Joint lining irritation is caused by inflammatory disorders such as synovitis, whereas arthritis gradually deteriorates joint tissues over time.

Extra-Articular Causes

Jaw, skull, or neck fractures can change the alignment and mechanics of a joint. It is necessary to rule out whiplash or injury-related trauma. Myofascial pain and muscle spasms brought on by tense and overused muscles that support jaw movement are also frequent. Teeth clenching or grinding can overwork the strong masticatory muscles, causing sensitive trigger points in the neck, cheeks, and shoulders as well as spasmodic pain.

TMD symptoms can vary substantially but often include:

  • Discomfort in the face, jaw, shoulders, or neck
  • Limited movement of the jaw or locked
  • The jaw joint makes popping and clicking noises.
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Tinnitus, vertigo, and ear pain
  • Teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism)

How is TMJ Diagnosed?

A thorough medical history and a physical examination are necessary for the diagnosis of temporomandibular joint problems. During the examination, abnormalities or indicators of dysfunction in the jaw joint and surrounding musculoskeletal tissues are looked for. It is also possible to visually confirm joint, muscle, or nerve disease-causing symptoms with imaging studies like MRIs, CT scans, or X-rays.

How is TMJ Treated?

Various approaches are used to treat TMJ problems in Denver, according to the particular needs of each patient. Medical treatments may include a variety of therapies, such as physical therapy to improve jaw function and lessen pain. In more serious cases, surgical treatments such as joint replacement or arthrocentesis may be investigated.

Medical Treatment

  • Analgesics for pain (NSAIDs, muscle relaxants)
  • Physical rehabilitation exercises
  • Methods for Stress Management
  • Intraoral orthotic devices


  • Ultrasounds, cold/heat therapy, and TENS units
  • Infusions and massages


  • Arthrocentesis and arthroscopy
  • Discectomy and joint replacement

Visit a TMJ Dentist Near You

If you suspect TMJ, you must get professional treatment. A TMJ dentist’s areas of competence are diagnosis and therapy. They can offer a thorough assessment, suggest suitable courses of action, and direct patients toward recovery. Gaining an understanding of the subtleties of TMJ Disorder enables people to take charge of their oral health. Be proactive in identifying symptoms and investigating treatment alternatives. To ensure a road towards a more pleasant and pain-free life, get individualized therapy from a TMJ dentist if you are experiencing symptoms of TMD. Contact Wynkoop Dentistry in Denver for more details.


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