TMJ Treatment Can Relieve Jaw Pain, A Clicking Sound, Or Difficulties Opening the Mouth

Twin Cities TMJ can help relieve jaw pain, clicking sounds, or difficulty opening the mouth. Early detection and management are very important for preventing more serious problems.

Avoid wide jaw movements (chewing, yawning, singing, and clenching) and minimize gum chewing. Reduce stress, practice good posture, and exercise your jaw muscles to improve the function of your TMJ.


TMJ disorder is a condition that causes jaw pain and headaches. It often results from a combination of factors, such as stress or chewing hard foods. It can also be caused by clenching your teeth, a misaligned bite, or arthritis in the jaw joint. TMJ can also be the result of a concussion or injury to the head or neck, having a dental procedure such as having braces or getting a crown placed on your tooth, and using poor-fitting mouth trays, retainers or gum chewing devices.

Most people with TMJ have relatively mild or periodic symptoms that get better over time on their own. They may find that eating soft food, applying ice to the area and avoiding extreme jaw movements (such as wide yawning, singing loudly or chewing gum) help. Your doctor may recommend medications to help control pain and anxiety, or physical therapy to stretch and exercise the jaw muscles.

Some people with TMJ develop “trigger points,” or tense muscles that refer pain to other parts of the head and neck, such as the shoulder or ears. These muscles are usually not painful on their own, but when pressed on, they cause pain in the jaws and head. You can try to release these muscles by massaging the area, but you should always get a professional opinion first.

Injections into the joint can also be helpful. Arthrocentesis (ahr-throe-sen-TEE-sis) is a minimally invasive procedure in which fluid is injected into the joint to wash out chemical byproducts of inflammation and to reduce pressure on the joint.

Another treatment that shows promise is prolotherapy, a procedure in which irritants are injected into the joint to stimulate the body’s natural repair response. Some research suggests that prolotherapy can help restore the normal structure of the jaw joint.

The temporomandibular joints (TMJs) are the two joints in front of each ear that connect your lower jaw to the skull. They are a complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones that allow the jaw to move up and down, side to side, and forward and back. When these structures are working well together, chewing, speaking, yawning and swallowing can take place smoothly. However, if the joint is overexerted, it can lead to pain, limited movement of the jaw and other symptoms. This is referred to as temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD).

The two joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull are called temporomandibular joints (TMJs), and they are located in front of each ear. The jaw can move up and down, side to side, forward and back thanks to a complex network of muscles, ligaments, discs, and bones. Chewing, speaking, yawning, and swallowing can all happen easily when these structures are functioning properly together. Overstretching the joint, however, can result in pain, restricted jaw movement, and other symptoms. We call this dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint (TMD).

If you experience pain in your jaw or cheek, temple or ear area, a clicking sound when you open and close your mouth or have trouble moving your jaw, you should see a doctor to be evaluated for TMD. A physician, dentist or otolaryngologist can diagnose TMD by checking your jaw’s movement, the muscles surrounding it and listening for a clicking or grating sound when you open and close your mouth. X-rays and other imaging tests like CT scans or MRI can help confirm a diagnosis of TMD.

In mild cases, your doctor may recommend reversible treatments at home. These include avoiding foods that require excessive chewing, sleeping with your head elevated and using heat or cold compresses on the affected area. If you continue to have discomfort, your doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory or a muscle relaxant medication.

In more severe cases, you might need surgery. The type of surgery you need depends on your problem, including the amount of pain you are experiencing and whether your jaw becomes “locked” in a closed or open position. A minimally invasive procedure called arthrocentesis can be performed in your dentist’s office to relieve severe TMD when other treatment is not effective. The doctor injects a numbing agent into the jaw’s joint, then removes damaged tissue and dislodges a disk that has become stuck in the joint. This surgery can be painful, but it is usually much faster and more comfortable than other types of TMD surgery. You might also need a jaw replacement or other surgical procedures.

In more serious situations, surgery might be required. Your issue, including the level of pain you are feeling and whether your jaw becomes “locked” in an open or closed position, will determine the kind of surgery you require. When conservative measures fail to relieve severe TMD, your dentist may perform arthrocentesis, a minimally invasive procedure, in your office. After injecting a numbing substance into the joint of the jaw, the surgeon extracts a disk that has lodged in the joint and removes any damaged tissue. Although this procedure can be uncomfortable, it is typically quicker and more comfortable than other forms of TMD surgery. Other surgical procedures or a jaw replacement may also be required.

If you have pain in your jaw or face, or a popping sound when opening or chewing, it may be caused by temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Symptoms of this condition can range from mild discomfort to chronic pain. Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons can diagnose TMD and offer treatment options to alleviate your symptoms.

The temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, are located in the front of your jaw and connect your lower jaw to your skull. These small joints help you move your jaw to eat and speak, but when they become damaged or misaligned, you can experience TMD. This condition is a common cause of headaches, facial pain, and clenching or grinding of the teeth.

TMD can be a temporary problem that resolves on its own or with over-the-counter treatments like hot and cold packs, over-the-counter medications, diet and lifestyle changes, stress reduction, or physical therapy. More severe cases of TMD or if your symptoms do not respond to these treatment options may need additional medical or dental care.

Your dentist can provide a custom mouthguard to prevent grinding and clenching of the teeth, which can also relieve TMD symptoms. Your dentist can also place crowns or reshape certain teeth to adjust your bite, which can reduce stress on the TMJs and alleviate your symptoms. TMD can also be treated with neuromuscular dentistry, which involves reducing inflammation in the jaw and facial muscles by placing a series of injections into the trigger points.

In some cases, your doctor may recommend a repositioning or arthrocentesis procedure to remove the disk from the TMJ, or a joint replacement surgery to replace the joint. Surgery to replace the TMJ is only recommended for patients who are experiencing a significant loss of jaw function and have not responded to other types of treatment.

Alternative treatments for TMJ include acupuncture, which can relax the jaw muscles and alleviate pain, massage, and chiropractic care, which can restore proper alignment to the jaw. A CAM treatment that uses low-level electrical currents to stimulate the joint and muscles is also available for TMJ, which can relax the muscles and ease pain.

Alternative therapies for TMJ include massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic care, which can realign the jaw and relax the jaw muscles to relieve pain. For TMJ, there is also a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) option that stimulates the joint and muscles with low-level electrical currents, which can relieve pain and relax the muscles.