How to Get the Right Treatment for a TMJ Problem

Your TMJ (short for temporomandibular joint) is the most constantly used joint in your body. It’s the small joint in front of your ears where your skull and lower jaw connect. The joint allows your lower jaw (mandible) to move and function.

TMJ-related pain and other symptoms can often be difficult to properly diagnose. Common symptoms such as earaches, headaches, pain, clicking or grating sounds in the joint may or may not be caused by problems in the TMJ.

Properly diagnosing the cause of your TMJ problems is best left to oral and maxillofacial specialists, physicians who have several additional years of extensive training in the problems, diseases and disorders of the face, jaw and neck.

Causes of TMJ problems are wide ranging and can involve the TM joint itself, the muscles, a combination of both, or stress. To accurately diagnose the underlying cause of your TMJ problem, your oral surgeon may need to conduct different diagnostic procedures.

TMJ problems include: 

  • Arthritis can cause inflammation, stiffness, swelling and pain in the TM joint.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis can cause parts of the TMJ to fuse and prevent jaw movement
  • An injury or trauma to the jaw
  • Displacement or dislocation of the disk that is located between the skull and lower jaw can cause a variety of symptoms including clicking or popping sounds, limited jaw movement and pain when opening and closing your mouth
  • A hole or perforation in the disk that is located between the skull and lower jaw can create a grating sound with joint movement.
  • Stress may cause you to clench your teeth or grind them while you sleep and cause painful muscle spasms that may feel like TMJ pain. 

Treatments for Temporomandibular Joint Problems

TMJ treatment may range from conservative dental and medical care to complex surgery. Depending on the diagnosis, treatment may include short-term non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for pain and muscle relaxants, bite plate or splint therapy, physical therapy, and even stress management counseling. Generally, if non-surgical treatment is unsuccessful or if there is clear joint damage, surgery may be indicated. Surgery varies from minimally invasive arthrocentesis and arthroscopy to open joint surgery.

No-Obligation Consultation

If your dentist recommends a consultation with an oral and maxillofacial specialist, contact Face and Jaw Surgery Center at one of our four, convenient North Dakota locations. Our surgeons are specially trained in the diagnosis and treatment (both non-surgical and surgical) of TMJ-related problems. We can evaluate your condition and recommend the most effective treatment plan.

Face and Jaw Surgery Center serves all of North Dakota and North West Minnesota including Moorhead, MN and East Grand Forks, MN.

Bismarck, ND office

Fargo, ND office

Grand Forks, ND office

Minot, ND office