TMD Basics

woman holding her jaw in pain due to a toothache

How much do you know about TMD?

What is TMD?

TMD stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder. You may have also heard these disorders referred to as TMJ. TMJ actually stands for Temporomandibular Joint. If you’re having problems with your temporomandibular joint, you could be dealing with a lot of pain, discomfort, and damage to your teeth.

What causes TMD?

Common causes of TMD include:

  • Joint trauma
  • Teeth grinding
  • Stress and jaw clenching
  • Misaligned bite
  • Muscle fatigue in the muscles surrounding the joint
  • Arthritis
  • Cartilage damage near the joint
  • Shifting or erosion of the shock-absorbing disc


What are the signs of TMD?

TMD can be difficult to diagnose because many of the symptoms of TMD are general pain. You may need the help of both a doctor and a dentist to diagnose TMD. In many cases X-rays, CT scans, MRIs and oral exams will be some of the tools used to diagnose TMD.


The following symptoms are signs of TMD, so talk to your dentist if you notice any of these problems.

  • Your jaw clicks when you talk or chew food
  • Your jaw gets temporarily locked in a position
  • You notice jaw pain or tooth pain
  • You have frequent severe headaches that seem like migraines
  • You have frequent nick, shoulder and back pain
  • You notice ringing in your ears or swelling in your face

How is TMD treated?

There are many ways to treat TMD and your treatment will depend on your individual diagnosis, and the conditions causing TMD.


Galleria Dental Aesthetics uses dentistry and other tools to effectively treat TMD and correct problems. Common treatments include:

  • Custom fit mouth guards and splints that can be used to prevent tooth grinding, realign the bite, relax the jaw and facial muscles, and reposition the jaw joint.
  • Medications like muscle relaxers.
  • Jaw exercises including stretching and massaging.
  • Resting the jaw.
  • Orthodontics to realign the teeth and dental implants and fillings to correct other problems.
  • Surgery when necessary.


You don’t have to live with jaw pain and severe headaches. To learn more about TMD causes, symptoms, and treatment options schedule an appointment at Galleria Dental Aesthetics.

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