Frequently Asked Questions about TMJ Disorder

questions about tmj

questions about tmj

Shoreline, Edmonds, and Seattle, WA

What is TMJ Disorder?

The acronym TMJ stands for your temporomandibular, or jaw joint. It has become a very common household word for many types of painful conditions of the head and neck. Dentist and doctors tend to use the term TMD or temporomandibular disorder

What are some of the signs and symptoms of TMJ problems?

  • Headaches
  • Sensitive and sore teeth
  • Facial pain
  • Neck and shoulder aches
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Jaw pain
  • Ear congestion
  • Clicking or popping in the joints
  • Worn down teeth
  • Teeth clenching or grinding
  • Limited opening of the mouth
  • Cervical or neck problems
  • Loose teeth
  • Tingling in the fingertips
  • Forward head posturing

What Causes TMJ problems?

A few known causes for TMJ problems are:

  • Malocclusion (a bad bite), bruxism (grinding teeth)
  • Habits (chewing gum, fingernail bite, pencil bite, habitual clenching, habitual jaw support on one side, chewing on one side for a prolonged period of time etc.)
  • Whiplash from automobile accidents
  • Trauma or injures to the jaw
  • An underdeveloped dental arch from habits, allergies at early age, mouth breathing
  • A structural imbalance
  • Poor alignment of the spine
  • Clenching or grinding
  • Emotional or psychological related stress
  • Poor posture
  • Missing teeth
  • Worn down teeth

In other words, almost anything can contribute to TMJ disorder. Every time you move your head, chew, swallow, walk, talk, exercise, drive, play, or sleep, your upper and lower teeth constantly come together either lightly or hard. 

What can I do to treat my TMJ disorders?

The immediate concern is to provide relief of your painful symptoms.  A custom fit repositioning appliance is made of plastic that your wear over your teeth to relax the muscles that are in distress and provide a healthy, functioning bite position.

You’ll typically wear this plastic appliance for a prescribed period of time to see if this new jaw position solves or reduces your TMJ pain and symptoms. Depending on your personalized results Dr. Hoag and Dr. Dotsch will review long term treatment options with you.