TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. On each side of your face, your jaw attaches to the bottom of your skull. The muscles in this area allow a person to open and close one’s mouth.

Sometimes a person can experience pain in the jaw if the joint gets misaligned, this is called TMD or temporomandibular joint disorder.  TMD pain can be a horrible pain near your ear, jaw or around the muscles of your face. Some individuals even hear and feel a clicking or popping sound that can impact jaw movement.

Symptoms of TMD

  • Headaches accompanied by facial and or dental pain
  • Pain in your jaw joints or upon jaw movement.
  • A change or shift in how your teeth fit together when closed.
  • Limited jaw movement and stiff muscles in your jaw.
  • Clicking or popping sound accompanied by other symptoms.
  • Ear pain or pressure, and or tinnitus.

Treating TMD

Some simple strategies are slow gentle stretching, anti-inflammatory medication, or muscle relaxants.  Switching your diet to softer foods more comfortable to chew may also provide relief.  Often, people with jaw pain may benefit from wearing a night guard, which is inserted over the teeth like a retainer. The night guard prevents the back teeth from touching, relieving the pressure on the TMJ. In more severe cases, other measures may need to be taken such as orthodontics, bridgework restoration, or surgery.


Custom made night guard.

The first step is to make an appointment at Penfield Family Dentistry for an examination. Together we develop a plan using a variety of strategies depending on the severity so that you are not in pain.