People who suffer from symptoms such as headaches, earaches, tenderness of the jaw muscles, or dull, aching facial pain often share a common problem. These people may suffer from a family of problems related to the jaw joint (TMJ - temporomandibular joint disorders.) The muscles and joints may not function properly, resulting in cycles of pain and spasms. T.M. Disorders can have a variety of causes and, in many cases, can be successfully treated.

If you have had symptoms like pain or a clicking sound, you'll be glad to know that these problems are more easily diagnosed and treated than they were in the past. Since some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important. No one treatment can resolve TMJ disorders completely, and treatment takes time to be effective. Dr. Dean can help you have a healthier and more comfortable jaw.

Causes of TMJ

TMJ disorders develop for many reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth, tightening your jaw muscles and stressing your TM joint. Or, you may have a damaged jaw joint due to injury or disease. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking or grating noises when you open your mouth, or you may have trouble opening your mouth wide.

Signs & Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

  • Are you aware of grinding or clenching your teeth?
  • Do you wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaws?
  • Do you have frequent headaches or neck aches?
  • Does the pain get worse when you clench your teeth?
  • Does stress make your clenching and pain worse?
  • Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, or lock when you open your mouth?
  • Is it difficult or painful to open your mouth, eat or yawn?
  • Have you ever injured your neck, head or jaws?
  • Have you had problems (such as arthritis) with other joints?
  • Do you have teeth that no longer touch when you bite?
  • Do your teeth meet differently from time to time?
  • Is it hard to use your front teeth to bite or tear food?
  • Are your teeth sensitive, loose, broken or worn?

The more times you answered "yes," the more likely it is that you have a TMJ disorder. Understanding TMJ disorders will also help you understand how they are treated.


Dr. Dean's office uses a very conservative approach aimed at reducing pain immediately. We have a physical therapist in the office who concentrates on head and neck pain disorders and TMJ treatment. The reduction of muscle and joint pain with physical therapy is often the only treatment necessary. If you grind your teeth or your jaw is clicking or popping, Dr. Dean may make a special appliance similar to a retainer which will give you relief.

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