TMJ Specialist
TMJ is a painful condition that affects millions of people by causing pain and stiffness in the temporomandibular joint — the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. Erik Unger, DDS, a Board Certified Periodontist offers compassionate diagnosis and treatment for people in and around Glendale, Arizona, at Happy Valley Smiles Dentistry. If you’re experiencing jaw pain, call or book an appointment online today.


Happy Valley Smiles

What is TMJ?

The acronyms TMJ and TMD are often used interchangeably, although TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint and TMD is short for temporomandibular disorders. Your TMJ connects your jaw to your skull and, like many joints, is susceptible to disorders that cause pain and inflammation, such as TMD. TMD is inflammation of the tendons and muscles in the joint.

What are the symptoms of TMJ?

TMJ causes pain and stiffness in your jaw. It’s more often diagnosed in women than men and can affect either side of your jaw. Some of the common symptoms of problems with your TMJ include:

  • Pain, fatigue, and swelling in your jaw, face, neck, and shoulders
  • Problems opening or closing your mouth fully
  • A jaw that feels stuck in a certain position
  • Trouble chewing

TMJ also make issues like toothaches, headaches, dizziness, and tinnitus more likely.

What causes TMJ?

A variety of factors can contribute to TMJ issues. For example, if you have an accident and experience whiplash, it can also affect your TMJ. Teeth grinding, also called bruxism, can contribute to inflammation and pain in the TMJ. Arthritis and issues with the cushioning tissue in the joint can cause TMD.

Stress is another factor that leads to pain in your jaw. Often when you are stressed out, you may clench your jaw or grind your teeth. This pressure can irritate your muscles and tendons, leading to swelling, stiffness, and pain.

How is TMJ treated?

Dr. Unger works with you to identify the best way to find the cause of your TMJ problem and to fit that treatment into your lifestyle. Medication to reduce swelling is a common treatment. Dr. Unger often suggests you wear a night guard to correct the alignment of your jaw and prevent bruxism while you sleep.

In some cases, dental work to correct other issues may also clear up your TMJ pain. You may also benefit from a TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) machine, which provides a gentle current to stimulate and release muscle tension.

Whatever the cause of your discomfort, you can count on Dr. Unger to get to the root of your problem and offer effective treatment that not only relieves your pain but also restores your jaw and TMJ to optimal health. Call or book a consultation online today to learn more.

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