What is TMJ?

Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, is caused by problems of the muscles and joints that link your lower jaw to your skull.  TMJ is common in people ages 20-40, and causes severe pain and dysfunction in the jaw. Generally, the pain and discomfort goes away over time, or in cycles, but some people develop long-term symptoms and pain.

What Causes TMJ Symptoms?

A common cause of TMJ symptoms is injury or trauma to the jawbone. This causes problems with the jaw muscles and joints, and can lead to severe pain. There are several other explanations to TMJ pain, including:

  • Grinding, or clenching jaw causing a lot of pressure on the joint
  • Arthritis of the joint
  • A great deal of stress can cause pressure and clenching
  • Unaligned teeth and jaw

Symptoms of TMJ

There are several painful symptoms associated with TMJ. The most frequent symptom of TMJ is severe pain or discomfort in your face or jaw when chewing, talking, or opening mouth. Other symptoms include:

  • Jaw locks when opening
  • Popping or cracking when opening and closing mouth
  • Tired or fatigued feeling in face
  • Trouble chewing
  • Swelling in jaw and neck area

Treatments for TMJ

There are many options available to treat TMJ disorder symptoms. There are simple at-home treatments such as over the counter medication, heating pads, and eating soft foods. However, there are several professional treatments that could give you longer lasting relief, including:

  • Prescribed muscle relaxers and anti-anxiety medication
  • Dental work that can balance the surface of teeth
  • Invisalign or braces to move teeth to better alignment
  • Night guard
  • Surgery
  • Radio wave therapy
  • Trigger-point injections
  • Splints

When choosing a treatment for TMJ, Dr. Dater and our team of dental professionals evaluate which treatment option is best for you, and will work to relieve your symptoms.


Dr. Dater has been serving Rockford, MI and providing dental services for over 25 years. Request Your Appointment Today »


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Dental Appointment Rockford MI
170 Marcell Dr NE, Rockford, MI 49341

location 170 Marcell Drive NE
Rockford, MI 49341


Phone Number+1 (616) 884-5767


Office HoursMon & Wed 8:00 - 5:00
Tues 12:00 - 7:00
Thurs 7:00 - 2:00
Fri closed

Highly recommend Dr. Dater and staff. I no longer dread going to the dentist EXCEPT for the maize and blue loyalty. I cannot defend MSU when my mouth is full of dental instruments!

– Carlene Stamp