What is TMJ?

TMJ is an abbreviation for Temporomandibular Joint. These two joints connect the lower jaw to the temporal area of the head. This joint is immediately in front of your ear. You can feel it move when you open and close or wiggle your jaw. The lower jaw and the jaw joints are a complex system of cartilage, muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, lubricating fluids, discs, and teeth.

What is TMD?

Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are often called "TMJ" by physicians, patients, and insurance companies, although the term TMJ only refers to the jaw joints themselves. TMD describes a group of disorders arising from an imbalance or discoordination in the working relationship of the jaw, skull, and muscles that move the jaw. The imbalance can result in pain, muscle fatigue, spasm, and changes in the teeth and bite, which can then cause a variety of other symptoms. Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) can cause a lifetime of pain and other debilitating symptoms because it often goes undiagnosed. The main symptom is headaches, often mistaken for migraines, and sufferers visit a series of medical doctors in search of pain relief. A pain prescription can certainly address the pain, but without an accurate diagnosis, no lasting treatment is possible.

TMD Symptoms

  • Pain about the face, neck and shoulders
  • Jaw joint noises; clicking, popping and/or grating
  • Limited ability to open your mouth wide or move side to side
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Frequent headaches, often around the temple area and cheeks
  • Earaches, buzzing, or ringing noises in the ears
  • Deep pain in the jaw joint itself
Other symptoms that tend to stem from the primary symptoms are:
  • Poor posture
  • Dental restorations that fail
  • Depression
  • Sleep disorders
  • Tooth grinding

Diagnosing TMD

The first step is to determine that your concern is not another type of medical or dental problem behaving like TMD.

This determination is made following an initial TMD Screening Visit that includes the completion of a thorough TMD history form, digital x-rays of the teeth, possible referral for x-ray of the jaw joints, and a preliminary clinical examination of the jaw joints, muscles, bite, and teeth.

We may also advise patients to seek a concurrent medical exam from a medical physician to rule out the presence of medical problems which may be occurring in combination with or disguising themselves as TMD problems.

Following the TMD Screening visit examination, if the preliminary diagnosis is TMD disorder, then further tests may be indicated to identify the exact nature of the problem and to assist in developing the most appropriate treatment strategy.

Please read more about the Causes of TMD and TMD Treatment. To schedule your free initial consultation in the Minneapolis and Golden Valley, Minnesota area, please contact us today. You can be free from painful TMD disorders!

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7575 Golden Valley Rd – STE 240
Golden Valley, Minnesota 55427


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Valley Square Office Center
7575 Golden Valley Rd – STE 240
Golden Valley, Minnesota 55427


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