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TMJ disorders, also called temporomandibular disorders (TMD), are illnesses affecting the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and related structures. The TMJ is the joint that joins the jawbone to the skull and enables jaw movements during tasks like eating, speaking, and yawning.

TMJ can result in various symptoms, including jaw pain, difficulty opening and closing the mouth, popping or clicking sounds when moving the jaw, and headaches. TMJ can have several causes, including arthritis, stress, teeth grinding, and injury.

The causes, symptoms, and available treatments are listed below in more detail.

Causes of TMJ

TMJ’s precise causes are not fully understood, and various factors can contribute to its occurrence. TMJ can have several common causes, including:

Injury to the Jaw

Whiplash or a blow to the jaw can harm the TMJ and cause TMD.


Arthritis can cause TMJ inflammation, which can result in TMD.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, can put too much pressure on the TMJ and result in TMD.


Stress can cause jaw and neck muscles to tense up, resulting in TMD.

Poor Posture

Poor posture can stress the jaw and neck muscles and joints, which can cause TMD.

Dental Work

Dental work, including wearing braces or dentures, may occasionally result in TMD.

Symptoms and TMD Diagnosis 

A variety of symptoms, varying in intensity and duration, can be brought on by TMD. The following are a few of the typical TMD symptoms.

Jaw Pain

The most prevalent sign of TMD is jaw pain, which can be either dull or sharp and may worsen when you move your jaw.


TMD can result in headaches, which may be felt in the back of the head, the forehead, or the temples.

Ear Pain

TMD may result in ear pain that is misdiagnosed as an ear infection.

Clicking or Popping Sounds 

Noises made when opening or closing the mouth due to TMD include clicking or popping.

Difficulty Opening or Closing the Mouth

TMD can make it challenging to open or close the mouth entirely.


TMD can occasionally result in lockjaw, which is the inability to open or close the mouth.


TMD can cause toothaches, which are sometimes mistaken for dental issues.

TMD diagnosis can be difficult because its symptoms resemble other medical conditions. To identify the underlying cause of the symptoms, a thorough evaluation by a licensed healthcare professional is required. A physical examination of the jaw and its surroundings, imaging tests like X-rays or MRIs, and laboratory tests to rule out other conditions may be part of this.

TMJ Management and Treatment

The underlying cause and the severity of the symptoms will determine the best course of action. TMD may sometimes go away independently with self-care techniques like rest, heat or cold therapy, and over-the-counter analgesics. However, medical attention such as TMJ treatment in Raleigh, NC might be required if symptoms worsen or persist.


Ibuprofen or acetaminophen, two over-the-counter painkillers, can ease the pain and discomfort TMD brings.

Muscle Relaxants

In some circumstances, doctors may recommend taking muscle relaxants to relieve jaw and neck tension.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can help reduce the symptoms of TMD by incorporating stretching and strengthening exercises for the jaw and neck muscles.

Dental Treatments 

To correct tooth alignment issues or stop teeth grinding, mouthguards, splints, and orthodontic treatment may be suggested.


Surgery may be required to replace or repair damaged joint structures in severe cases.

In addition to these medical procedures, making some lifestyle adjustments could help manage the symptoms of TMD.

  • Eating soft foods will help to relieve jaw tension
  • Avoid foods that are sticky, chewy, or hard
  • Maintaining a good posture while standing and sitting
  • Relaxing methods, such as yoga or meditation, reduce stress
  • Avoid clenching or grinding your teeth, especially at night
  • Applying cold or heat therapy to the jaw muscles
  • Relaxing the jaw muscles with massage


The complex medical condition known as TMD can result in various symptoms that affect the jaw joint and nearby structures. To identify the underlying cause of the signs and create an effective treatment strategy, a thorough evaluation by a qualified healthcare professional is required.

People with TMD can control their symptoms and enhance their quality of life with proper medical care and lifestyle changes.