Dental Tips Blog


Can Crooked Teeth Cause TMJ Disorder?

Posted in TMJ Therpy

Your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is the hinge-like joint that is your jaw. When that joint malfunctions or gets inflamed, the condition is called TMJD, TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder.

Is there any connection between having crooked teeth and developing a painful jaw dysfunction?

Tooth Alignment Matters

Tooth alignment involves more than looks alone. The positioning of your teeth impacts the health of your entire mouth.

For example, cavity-causing bacteria can hide out in the tight spaces between overlapping teeth.

But the problems don’t stop there.

“Natural” tooth alignment isn’t something an orthodontist just made up. When teeth come in nice and straight, this allows them to equally interact in the chewing process. Straight teeth improve the function and balance of your bite.

How is Your TMJ Involved?

If crooked teeth are experiencing uneven pressure during biting and chewing, then this means that the joint moving those teeth is also affected.

Sometimes, a tooth out of alignment may meet the opposing teeth sooner than its neighbors. This can mean that the jaw is closing sooner on one side than on the other.

To illustrate, imagine what it would feel like to chew on just one side of your mouth all the time.

That’s what can happen to your jaw if crooked teeth are throwing your bite out of balance. One side gets worked harder than the other. Over time, the stress can lead to major problems.

What should you do?

If you suspect that you have any symptoms of TMD like pain, stiffness, or limited jaw opening, contact your dentist. Find out how your bite may be affecting your TMJ. Your dentist or orthodontist can use braces to correct bite problems that cause or aggravate TMD.  Orthodontic treatment could be the ticket to a more comfortable smile.

Posted on behalf of:
Broad Street Braces
2010 South Juniper Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148


What Your Dentist is Looking For During a TMJ Exam

Posted in TMJ Therpy

TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint. This joint connects your jaw to your head and is responsible for chewing, talking, yawning, and swallowing. Problems with this joint can lead to headaches, jaw pain, limited movement, and difficulty eating. During a regular dental exam your dentist thoroughly examines your TMJ to assess its range of movement.

A Verbal History

Your dentist will ask you a few questions while he or she is examining your TMJ. The dentist will ask whether you feel any discomfort or limitations while moving your jaw during normal activities. If you do have any pain, the dentist will ask how intense it is, how frequently it shows up, at what times you feel discomfort, and whether the sensation is sharp and shooting or dull and aching.

You may likely discuss with the dentist whether you or anyone in your family has a history of arthritis or TMJ disorders. Family patterns could be a good indicator of your risk for developing problems with your TMJ.

The Clinical Exam

During the clinical exam, the dentist will feel your TMJ by placing a couple of fingers on either side of your head, just in front of your ears, while you open your jaw and move it around as directed. This allows the dentist to feel for any unusual noises or movements such as popping, clicking, or grinding. The dentist will later examine your teeth for signs of grinding or clenching which mean that jaw muscles are working overtime.

Your dentist is your first line of defense in tackling TMJ pain. A visit to your dentist for a TMJ exam can help narrow down the list of possible causes. With your dentist’s help, you can maintain healthy jaw function.

Posted on behalf of:
Kennesaw Mountain Dental Associates
1815 Old 41 Hwy NW #310
Kennesaw, GA 30152
(770) 927-7751


3 Signs of TMJ Disorder

Posted in TMJ Therpy

TMJ is an abbreviation for “temporomandibular joint.” A disorder of the TMJ is any condition in which the muscles and/or the joint itself is impaired by pain or dysfunction. TMJ disorder is common and difficult to specifically diagnose. These disorders are often treated with palliative measures to relieve tension and pain.

Do you worry that you may suffer from complications with your TMJ? What are the signs of a TMJ disorder?

1.-Locking or limited movement of the jaw

A click or a pop on opening the jaw is normal for some people. Many times, unusual motion or noise is inexplicably characteristic to a certain patient’s individual anatomy. If you notice a change, however, in the way your jaw feels or functions, that could be a sign that your TMJ is symptomatic.

2.-Pain in the jaw or the surrounding muscles while chewing

This is the most common sign of TMJ disorder. Your jaw needs to move naturally, often, and comfortably to enable you to do normal activities such as speaking, eating, and yawning. Any pain while opening your jaw is not normal and should be addressed.

3.-Pain that extends from the jaw into the head, neck, mouth and ear

Some patients with persistent headaches, neck pain, or an inexplicable earache have found the source to be radiating out from a dysfunctional TMJ.

TMJ disorders can be caused by many factors. If your TMJ is bothering you, a careful examination of your medical and dental history may yield some clues. For some patients, arthritis can affect their TMJ. Other cases are attributed to stress on the muscles through excessive grinding and clenching.

Talk with your dentist for help along the journey to finding relief for TMJ discomfort.

Posted on behalf of:
Family & Cosmetic Dental Care
2627 Peachtree Pkwy #440
Suwanee, GA 30024
(770) 888-3384


3 Causes of TMJ Disorder

Posted in TMJ Therpy

TMJ is an abbreviation for “temporomandibular joint,” and it is a ball-and-socket style joint that serves a vital function in eating, breathing, and talking. Yes, we’re talking about the joint that moves your jaw. On occasion, this joint can suffer from any of a variety of disorders. This results in limited movement, soreness, and even aching that radiates out to other areas of the head. What are some primary causes of TMJ disorder?

Habitual Grinding or Clenching

The habit of grinding and/or clenching the teeth can be something that only happens at night while you’re asleep, or it could be an unconscious habit triggered by stress. This habit keeps the chewing muscles tensed more often than they’re used to, and results in muscle-tension and wear on the jaw joint.


Arthritis is usually a genetic factor that will affect other joints in the body in addition to the TMJ. As with other joints in the body, the TMJ with arthritis typically suffers by losing the pad of cartilage that cushions the space between the ball and socket of the joint.


It is fairly common to experience jaw pain and limited opening after your jaw goes through some kind of traumatic experience. Such as an auto accident or a sport-related injury such as a fall or blow to the face.

If you have any concerns with your jaw, then please notify your dentist. Because TMJ issues can be so difficult to isolate, diagnose, and treat, they are best handled by collaborating with a few medical professionals who have experience in this matter. Talking with your dentist as soon as possible will help you draft an individualized plan of action.

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. David Kurtzman D.D.S.
611 Campbell Hill St. NW #101
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 980-6336


Your Bite and TMJ Disorders

Posted in TMJ Therpy

Did you know that the way your teeth bite together could be causing your TMJ disorder? If you’re already sensitive to chewing gum, harder foods, or opening your mouth for a dental exam, then it’s time to find out whether or not the problem is being caused by the way your teeth bite together.

Occlusion is the way your teeth fit together when they bite. If your teeth are crooked or the jaws are misaligned, your TMJ could be compromising its normal function every time you bite or chew your food in order to help you chew more efficiently. As a result, the jaw muscles become strained and symptoms of TMJ disorder begin to develop. Examples include popping, locking of the joint, soreness, headaches, and earaches.

A simple dental exam is all that is needed to check the occlusion of your teeth. If your dentist finds that the teeth bite together improperly, he or she can discuss what options are available to help you correct that problem. One of the most comprehensive methods is by orthodontically correcting the teeth so that they fit together properly. Traditional or clear orthodontic treatments can gradually move the teeth into the correct alignment, thereby reducing the strain that is placed on your jaw over time. Depending on the severity of your orthodontic needs and the type of treatment that you choose, some therapies can be completed as quickly as 6 months.

If other factors are causing your TMJD symptoms, your dentist can discuss non-invasive therapies to help relieve discomfort. Patients with clenching or grinding habits typically see results in the first day or two after wearing a bite splint. To find out what is causing your jaw disorder, see your dentist!

Posted on behalf of:
Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC
1295 Hembree Rd B202
Roswell, GA 30076
(770) 475-6767


Is TMJ Pain Really Preventable?

Posted in TMJ Therpy

TMJ Disorders (TMJD) and pain around the TMJ can make everyday life seem uncomfortable. Whether it’s eating a meal, chatting with a friend, or even keeping your mouth open during a dental appointment – the discomfort can make you feel miserable. What options do you have to treat TMJ pain, and is it possible to prevent them from returning?

Many of the factors that cause TMJD are treatable or avoidable. Take crowded or crooked teeth as an example. When the teeth bite together improperly, the TMJ may have to compromise a small amount in order to get the bite completely closed. This places strain on the joint and tissues surrounding it. By correcting the alignment of the teeth with orthodontic therapy, TMJ pain can be avoided.

Clenching and grinding of the teeth causes additional stress to the joint, beyond what it was designed for. Unfortunately, clenching and bruxism is often something we do subconsciously or in our sleep, making it hard to avoid. A custom, form-fitting bite splint or mouthguard can be made to wear over the teeth. This protects the teeth from wearing down, while also relaxing the muscles around the TMJ. The muscles then have a chance to relax, eliminating fatigue of the joint. Splints can be made very easily, and most patients see results after one or two days.

Do you suffer from TMJD or related TMJ discomfort? Your dentist can assess the function of your TMJ and bite to help you find a way to treat and manage your condition. In most cases, non-invasive therapies are the most successful way to correct conditions like TMJ.

Posted on behalf of:
Mockingbird Dental Associates
99 Mockingbird Dr
Cartersville, GA 30120
(770) 386-3908


Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

Posted in TMJ Therpy

TMJD or TMJ Disorder is a condition that makes it uncomfortable to do things like enjoy your favorite foods or even sit through a dental appointment. A lot of people come into the dental office saying they “have TMJ,” but do you really, truly have TMJD?

Locking of the Joint

That’s right, your jaw could possibly lock in a position where you cannot move it. It may be stuck open and require professional treatment to put it back into place. 

Popping, Grinding or Other Noises

If the joint is not functioning properly, the disk between the two bones may contribute to noises made during opening and closing of the jaw. These may be heard or felt. Your dentist will check for these findings during a TMJ screening at your routine dental evaluation. 

Inability to Open or Close the Jaw Comfortably

Whether from pain, discomfort, or physical barriers, people with TMJD may be unable to open and close their mouth, or even chew food. If brushing your teeth or eating is becoming a problem, then have your dentist check your joint range of motion. 

Severe Muscle Fatigue and Facial Pain

Abnormal function or stress to the joint can create severe pain in the area of the TMJ, ears, face, neck, and even the shoulders. Headaches are normal. A bite splint can help reduce muscle strain associated with this condition.

Disorders of the jaw can make everyday life miserable. If you’ve tried home remedies or an over the counter splint, it’s time to take it a step further. Ask your dentist about non-invasive TMJD therapy that can help you live comfortably and enjoy your activities once again.

Posted on behalf of:
Linda King, DDS MAGD
4146 Georgia 42
Locust Grove, GA 30248
(770) 898-8872


Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJD)

Posted in TMJ Therpy

TMJD is the common term used to describe pain, dysfunction, or abnormalities in the joint surrounding the jawbone. TMJD has a wide variety of symptoms depending on what the cause is, but it’s estimated that millions of people suffer from the disorder. Young women tend to be one of the most likely groups to develop the condition.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder can cause people to have:

  • Pain
  • Head, neck or shoulder pain
  • Muscle spasms
  • Grinding, clicking or locking of the joint
  • Inhibited range of motion
  • Trouble chewing or biting

Dentists can help you treat your TMJD through the use of oral occlusal splints, bite guards, instruction on home therapy and stress relieving exercises, or even with the use of Botox treatments. Most of the time conservative, non-invasive therapy is used to help manage TMJD symptoms. In rare cases of severe joint dysfunction there may be a need for surgical therapy. Most surgical treatments do not completely correct the joint abnormality, but rather alleviate the discomfort caused by the condition.

TMJ disorders are usually from one of 3 categories:

  • Degenerative Joint Disease (associated with arthritis)
  • Internal Joint Derangement (joint or disc displacement)
  • Myofascial Pain (most common)

A visual examination as well as imaging with x-rays or CT scanning will allow your dental provider to determine the cause of your discomfort. By alleviating symptoms that cause abnormal use of the joint, you can greatly decrease the pain and muscle tension felt through your jaw, head, neck and shoulders. Bite splints and relaxation exercises such as yoga can help train the joint to rest in the proper position and reduce muscle tension that would otherwise complicate and worsen your condition.

Posted on behalf of Dr. James C. Kincaid



Neuromuscular Dentistry

Posted in TMJ Therpy

Neuromuscular dentistry is a therapy that uses advanced technology to determine the ideal position of your Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the course of therapy that should be used in order to decrease your pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorder. This concept of dentistry is recognized by the International College of Cranio-Mandibular Orthopedics to treat symptoms and problems associated with the misalignment of the TMJ. While a portion of jaw alignment is due to the way your teeth bite together, other aspects of jaw functioning can be difficult to analyze in a visual manner.

Precise computerized instruments are placed on the patient’s skin around the TMJ to analyze the function of the jaw joint. The muscle that controls the TMJ is a complex muscle that if not functioning correctly can cause referred pain such as:

  • Headaches
  • Neck pain
  • Teeth grinding
  • Back and shoulder muscle pain
  • Problems with posture
  • Jaw clicking, popping or function disorders
  • Abnormal tooth wear

By correcting the function and alignment of the TMJ, neuromuscular dentistry aids dentists and their patients in relieving pain and stress associated with TMJ disorder. Muscle activity is measured using motion analysis and electronic wave sensing. When the proper area of rest is found through the computerized scanning, patients can be outfitted with an oral device that allows them to correctly position their jaw joint in a manner that provides optimal rest to the joint.

Computerized mandibular scanning allows your dentist to pinpoint precise areas in your TMJ that cause head and neck pain, clenching or grinding. Scanning the jaw during movement is part of a comprehensive treatment and analysis of jaw disorders in the dental office.


What is Neuromuscular Dentistry?

Neuromuscular dentistry is a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on treating the muscles of the face, including the masticatory (jaw), tongue, and mouth muscles. The goal of neuromuscular dentistry is to restore the harmony between the facial muscles and tissues, joints, and the teeth. The “neuro” in “neuromuscular dentistry” points to the fact that the connection between facial nerves and muscles are of paramount importance. Taking the unique facial physiology of patients into account, neuromuscular dentists treat impaired neuromuscular junctions that are interfering with oral functioning and overall health.

Some disorders treated by neuromuscular dentists include temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ disorder), Bell’s palsy, bruxism, and Trigeminal neuralgia. Diagnostic tools like mandibular kinesiography (MKG), electromyography (EMG), and computerized mandibular scanning (CMS) are used to evaluate jaw and neck muscle functioning. Treatment may include trigger-point injections , whereby the dentist injects anesthetic medicine into the facial muscles, or splint therapy whereby a customized bite splint or mouth guard is fitted onto the teeth to prevent teeth grinding and relieve the muscular stress caused by faulty jaw alignment.

Another common neuromuscular dental treatment is transcutaneous electrical neural stimulation (TENS). During TENS treatment, the patient is hooked up to a machine with delivers low voltages of electric current to the facial muscles, relaxing them and relieving pain. Some neuromuscular dental conditions may require surgical intervention. In this case, a neuromuscular dental surgeon or cosmetic dentist who specializes in neuromuscular conditions may perform maxilloplasty (upper jaw surgery) or mandibuloplasty (lower jaw surgery) to correct jaw alignment.

If you are worried about sore jaw muscles, tinnitus, excessive teeth grinding, clicking or popping facial joints, locking jaw, or chronic headaches, you may have a condition that requires treatment by a neuromuscular dentist. Many other conditions can mimic the symptoms of neuromuscular dental conditions and only an experienced neuromuscular dentist will be able to tell you whether jaw or facial muscle dysfunction is the cause of your distress.

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