TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint, which is the bone structure, muscles, and connective tissues that surround the jaw and control chewing. When people experience disorders of this joint, they are said to have a temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD (also called TMJ).

Symptoms Of TMJ

  • Jaw clicking, popping, and locking (especially when chewing or speaking)
  • Pain in the jaw
  • Earaches and pains
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Headaches
  • Stiff or sore jaw muscles
  • Pain in the temple area

Causes Of TMJ

The temporomandibular joints are complex. This makes understanding the exact causes difficult. There are many potential factors that may contribute to the muscle tightness and dysfunction that characterizes the TMJ condition. Below are some potential causes of TMJ:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Trauma to the teeth or jaw
  • Misalignment of the teeth or jaw
  • Arthritis

Treating TMJ

There are many ways of treating TMJ disorders, ranging from non-invasive therapy and bite splints to injections or surgery. Left untreated, however, TMJ disorders can lead to headaches, muscle pain, malocclusion, and tooth damage from grinding or clenching.

Before you can treat TMJ, it is important to get properly diagnosed by an experienced TMJ dentist. If you have TMJ symptoms, contact the dentists at Montana Dental Works to learn more about our TMD treatment.

Did you know…

that TMD alone is not a disorder, but instead a collection of disorders that affect the temporomandibular joint? It is the second most common pain-causing musculoskeletal condition in the U.S., according to the U.S. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. As many as 12 percent of Americans may suffer from some type of TMD, with women twice as likely to be affected than men. But despite the prevalence and wide availability of treatment, only one out every three people with TMD seek treatment.

Think you may have TMD? Give us a call at (406) 203-4231 or fill out the form below to schedule a consultation to discuss your options.


Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if TMJ treatment is right for me?

You will first need to be formally examined and diagnosed with TMJ disorder. Your dentist will evaluate the extent of the condition and determine what course of treatment is best for you. Usually, the initial approach involves conservative treatments, such as self-care, physical therapy, and bite guards. Medications may also be used to relax the jaw or relieve pain. Patients who do not respond to conservative treatments may be considered for surgery or joint injections.

What should I expect if I undergo treatment for TMJ?

TMJ treatment varies from patient to patient, so your experience may be very different than someone else’s. You’ll probably be asked by your dentist to adopt certain lifestyle changes to help facilitate rehabilitation in your jaw. For example, you may be asked to avoid sudden jaw movements, such as yelling or yawning. You may also need to begin sleeping on your back and take steps to reduce your stress levels.

Will I need to follow any special post-care instructions while being treated for TMJ?

Your post-treatment care instructions will vary according to the type of treatment you receive. If you undergo an aggressive treatment, such as surgery, you may be temporarily subject to an all-liquid diet. You’ll also need to apply ice to the face to minimize swelling and also keep the surgical site clean and dry.