tmj pain

If you’re having jaw or facial pain, you may have temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Don't let TMJ pain disrupt your daily life. Talk to a dentist about treatment today.


What You Should Know About TMJ and TMD


The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) play a critical role in functions such as opening and closing the jaw, speaking, chewing, and swallowing. But like other body parts, the TMJ can suffer from a medical condition that can inhibit it from working correctly. The temporomandibular joints connect the lower jaw to the skull. There are two TMJs, one located on each side of the lower jaw.


Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are medical conditions that affect jaw muscles, temporomandibular joints, and any nerve-related to chronic facial pain. TMDs fall into three (3) main categories.


Internal Joint Derangement

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Degenerative Joint Disease

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Myofascial Pain

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How to Treat and Prevent TMJ Disorders


There are multiple ways to treat TMJ disorder. Some are non-surgical, while others involve a certain level of surgery. Jaw surgery should be a last resort, so patients should try the non-surgical methods first.


Non-surgical methods are considered to be conservative treatments. Conservative treatment isn’t invasive to the face, jaw, or joint, and they don’t involve surgery. They are also considered reversible as that treatment type doesn’t cause permanent change to the structure or alignment of the jaw or teeth.


Surgical methods are considered to be irreversible. Jaw joint surgery can potentially cause acute pain and permanent damage to the jaw.


Therapy Treatments

Those with TMJ disorder can incorporate physical therapy with exercises that strengthen jaw muscles. A therapist can include heat, ice, and ultrasound in the treatments.

Mouth Guards

Splints and mouth guards that fit over the teeth are another method that can alleviate jaw pain.


Medications prescribed by a medical professional are another non-surgical avenue to pursue. Some over-the-counter pain relievers don’t provide relief, so a doctor or dentist might need to prescribe a pain reliever for a specific timeframe. Prescription-strength ibuprofen is one example.

Self-Care TMJ Disorder Treatments

Medications prescribed by a medical professional are another non-surgical avenue to pursue.   

Surgical TMJ Disorder Treatments

Surgical treatment options range from minimally invasive to actual surgery on the jaw.

Relaxation, stress reduction techniques and jaw stretching exercises can help reduce TMJ disorder pain.


Tmj Disorder Treatment Cost

Jaw surgery might be the only treatment option for some patients. That will make many patients wonder how much is jaw surgery?


Also known as orthognathic surgery, jaw surgery is the straightening or realigning of the jaw. There are a few factors that determine jaw surgery price.


Will the surgery be in-patient or out-patient? In-patient surgery will require a hospital stay. That will add significantly to the cost.


The seriousness of the jaw misalignment is another factor. The greater the misalignment means the more challenging the procedure will be.


The details of the procedure also dictate how much the surgery will cost. Those details include any initial pre-op testing, the surgery location, the anesthesia, a possible hospital stay, and any post-op pain medications.


If you have insurance, talk to your carrier to see what is and isn’t covered. If you lack insurance, then the finances could be significant. For example, jaw surgery can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $80,000, depending on the procedure type.

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Book an Appointment Today


If you’re looking for a dentist near you to help with TMJ pain, use our Find a Dentist tool to read patient reviews, peruse staff bios, and schedule an appointment online with a click of your mouse.


Pain Relief Exercises For Tmj And Jaw Pain

Jaw exercises are one way people can relieve pain brought on by TMJ disorder symptoms. Here are nine exercises you can perform to provide you some relief.


Tongue up: Extend your tongue so that it touches the roof of your mouth. Then, slowly open and shut your mouth while your tongue remains in that position.


Forward jaw movement: Find an object that is about a quarter-inch thick and place it between your front teeth. Then extend your bottom jaw so that the bottom teeth are in front of your top teeth. Gradually increase the object thickness as the exercise becomes simpler.


Side-to-side jaw movement: Take the same quarter-inch thick object and place it between your front teeth. Then slowly move your jaw from side to side. Gradually increase the object thickness as the exercise becomes simpler.


Mouth resisted opening: Start by placing your thumb under your chin. Then, slowly open your mouth as your thumb gently resists your chin. Hold your mouth open for three to six seconds before slowly closing it.


Mouth resisted closing: With your mouth open, place both thumbs under your chin and index fingers on the ridge between the bottom of your chin and your mouth. Then gently resist your chin as you close your mouth.


Relax the jaw: Extend your tongue so it gently touches directly behind your upper teeth. This move makes the upper and lower teeth part, thus, allowing the jaw muscles to rest.


Cervical retractions: This exercise is also called a chin tuck and can be performed from a standing or seated position. First, tip your shoulders back and your chest up. Then move your chin straight back while maintaining that position. Do not bend your head up down during the movement. Hold the move for two to three seconds. Repeat the exercise ten (10) times.


Mandibular stabilization: Hold your jaw in a neutral position. Then use your thumb to apply gentle pressure directly below the chin, to the right of the chin, and the left of the chin. Repeat all three moves five times while holding each movement for two (2) seconds. Perform five (5) total sets throughout the day.


Mandibular stabilization - advanced: Begin by placing your index finger knuckle between the top and bottom teeth to create a gap. Hold that gap. Then perform the same number and duration of moves as outlined above.

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