Reviewed by Dr. Gary Morris, DDS

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Are you experiencing jaw pain, headaches, or a clicking sound when you chew? You might be dealing with a common issue called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD), often referred to as simply “TMJ“.

TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint, which connects your jaw to your skull. TMJD refers to the conditions and symptoms affecting this joint.

In this blog, we will explore what TMJD is, what causes it, and what treatments are available to help manage and potentially cure this condition permanently.

Key Takeaway

A permanent cure for TMJ depends on the root cause and individual patient factors. Effective treatment options are available to manage symptoms, improve jaw function, and significantly improve the quality of life for those with TMJ disorder.

What is TMJD?

TMJD is a complex disorder affecting the temporomandibular joint, the hinge connecting your jawbone to your skull. This joint is essential for talking, chewing, and yawning. 

TMJD occurs when there are problems with the jaw joint and the muscles controlling jaw movement.

Symptoms can range from mild discomfort to severe pain and can significantly impact your quality of life. Common symptoms include

  • Jaw pain: This can range from mild discomfort to severe pain that makes everyday activities difficult.
  • Clicking or popping sounds: These sounds often occur when you open or close your mouth.
  • Limited jaw movement: TMJD can make it difficult to open your mouth wide or move your jaw from side to side.
  • Headaches: Tension headaches and migraines.
  • Ear pain: Pain or a feeling of fullness in the ears. 
  • Neck pain: The muscles in your neck and shoulders can become tense and sore. 

What Causes TMJD?

The exact cause of TMJD isn’t always clear, but several factors can contribute to its development:

  • Teeth grinding (bruxism): Clenching or grinding your teeth, especially at night, can put excessive stress on the TMJ.
  • Misaligned teeth: If your teeth don’t fit together properly, it can strain the jaw joint.
  • Arthritis: Like other joints, the TMJ can be affected by arthritis, leading to pain and inflammation.
  • Jaw injuries: Trauma to the jaw, such as a blow to the face, can damage the jaw joint.
  • Stress: Stress can cause you to clench your jaw muscles, contributing to TMJD.

Available Treatments for TMJD

There are various treatments available for managing TMJD, ranging from conservative, nonsurgical options to surgical interventions. Here’s a rundown of the most common treatments:

Non-Surgical Treatments

  • Moist heat: Apply a warm compress to your jaw to relax tense muscles and increase blood flow, which promotes healing.
  • Cold compress: A cold pack can reduce inflammation and numb pain.
  • Soft foods: Stick to soft, easy-to-chew foods to reduce strain on your jaw joint.
  • Jaw exercises: Your dentist or a physical therapist can teach you exercises to stretch and strengthen your jaw muscles.
  • Stress management: Techniques like deep breathing exercises can help reduce muscle tension.


  • Over-the-counter pain relievers: Ibuprofen or naproxen can help reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Muscle relaxants: These medications can help relieve muscle spasms.
  • Anti-inflammatories: Prescription anti-inflammatory drugs may be recommended for more severe cases.

Dental Treatments

  • Bite splints or mouth guards: These custom-made appliances can help prevent teeth grinding and reduce pressure on the TMJ.
  • Orthodontic treatments: Braces or clear aligners can correct misaligned teeth and improve jaw alignment.
  • Botox injections: Botox injections can be used to relax the jaw muscles and reduce pain associated with TMJD.

Physical Therapy

  • Manual therapy: A physical therapist can use hands-on techniques to improve jaw movement and reduce pain.
  • Electrical stimulation: This can help relax muscles and reduce pain.
  • Ultrasound therapy: Ultrasound can increase blood flow and promote healing.

Surgical Options

In rare cases, when other treatments haven’t provided relief, surgery may be considered. These procedures can range from minimally invasive arthroscopy to more complex open-joint surgery.

Can TMJ Be Cured Permanently?

Some people may find permanent relief through proper treatment plans, including orthodontic treatments, and lifestyle changes, others may continue to experience varying degrees of discomfort. 

With the right combination of medical interventions and self-care strategies, many sufferers can significantly improve their quality of life. However, because TMJD is a multifaceted condition, there is no one-size-fits-all solution, which underscores the importance of consulting healthcare professionals to develop an individualized treatment plan.

Morris Dental Solutions: Your Dentist in Buffalo Grove, IL

At Morris Dental Solutions, we know how TMJ can have a negative impact on your quality of life. We’re committed to helping you find the right solutions to manage your symptoms and regain comfort.

If you’re struggling with jaw pain, headaches, or other TMJ-related issues, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation. We’ll work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that addresses your needs.

If you are searching for ‘TMJ treatment near me’ or ‘Botox for TMJ in Buffalo Grove, IL’ we can help! Call (847) 215-1511 or complete the online booking form.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if TMJ goes untreated?

Chronic pain in the jaw, face, neck, and shoulders can become more severe, making your daily activities such as eating and speaking increasingly difficult. Untreated TMJD can also lead to the development of earaches, headaches, and even difficulty opening the mouth fully. In some cases, the cartilage that cushions the jaw joint can wear down, contributing to arthritis and reduced joint function.

What makes TMJ worse?

Chewing tough or sticky foods, chewing on pencils and pens, gum chewing, and wide yawning can strain the jaw joint and muscles, intensifying discomfort. Poor posture, especially when using a computer or mobile device, can put additional tension on the neck and jaw area.

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