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Understanding TMJ: Symptoms, Causes, and Seeing a TMJ Specialist

If your jaws hurt or you’ve noticed a clicking or popping sound when you open your mouth, you may be suffering from a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. TMJ problems are especially common in young women and may lead to a number of seemingly unrelated symptoms. Getting dentist care for TMJ problems can help you manage the symptoms and improve your ability to chew normally.

Signs and Symptoms that You Might Have a TMJ Disorder

The following signs indicate that you may need to seek dentist care for a TMJ disorder:

  • Facial, jaw, or ear pain
  • Pain in the neck and shoulders
  • Popping, clicking, or grating sounds when you open or close your mouth
  • Jaw locking open or shut
  • Pain when talking, chewing, or yawning
  • Headaches
  • Hearing loss or tinnitus
  • Muscle spasms
  • Dizziness
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Difficulty opening your mouth all the way

What Causes TMJ Disorders?

The cause of TMJ problems may not always be clear, but many factors can contribute. These are some potential causes for TMJ symptoms:

  • Trauma to the face or jaw
  • Stress-related jaw-clenching or teeth-grinding
  • Muscle disease
  • Other dental problems such as malocclusion
  • Arthritis
  • Some dental surgeries

How TMJ Disorders are Treated

Your doctor or dentist may be able to treat your symptoms, or you could be referred to a TMJ specialist for advanced management. The following treatments may be helpful:

  • Applying ice or heat to the jaw
  • Anti-inflammatory or pain medications
  • Resting the jaw for several days by eating soft foods
  • Treatment for night-time tooth-grinding or jaw clenching
  • Stress reduction
  • Treatment of underlying dental disorders
  • Surgery to repair damaged TMJ joint

If you experience severe pain or you are unable to open or close your mouth, contact your TMJ specialist, or seek emergency medical treatment.

Affordable Dental Detroit Resources

If you think you may be suffering from a TMJ disorder, seek affordable dental Detroit resources by checking with your local dental societies or health organizations. Getting the condition treated as soon as possible can ensure the best results.

To learn about our family dentistry practice in Detroit, call Gentle Dental of Michigan today at or make an appointment.


Gentle Dental of Michigan offers affordable family dentistry and gentle, compassionate dental care in Detroit. With 8 affiliated practices throughout Detroit, our offices are conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Gentle Dental of Michigan, we provide most dental services, from basic preventative care and general dentistry to specialized procedures and complete dental reconstruction. We accept most dental insurance plans and offer affordable financial solutions for any budget. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable dental care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping those smiles healthy, beautiful, and bright. Discover an affordable dentist who truly cares at Gentle Dental of Michigan.

We Are Open for Emergencies Only!

If you are experiencing pain or swelling, please call an office near you immediately for an emergency appointment. We have a network of affiliated dentists who are seeing emergency patients.

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