Do you ever feel like something is wrong with your jaw? Like there is indescribable pain in the joint making the muscles move and function differently? There may be many reasons for jaw pain, but one probable cause you should look into is TMJ. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. It is a disorder that occurs when your jaw, jaw joint, and surrounding muscles encounter problems. As a result, you feel extreme pain in your jaw.

If you want to understand the condition better, this article would tell you the crucial details you need to know. 

Why TMJ Disorders Occur

As of writing, there is still no determined reason for temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD) or their symptoms, but there are potential causes that experts are looking into. Here are some of the possible reasons a patient experiences these issues:

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding often occurs while people are sleeping. This puts pressure on the teeth and the jaw’s muscle, tissues, and other surrounding structures. Doing this for a long time can affect the way your teeth and jaw function. When your jaw joints become misaligned, it could overstimulate the affected muscles and nerves, resulting in TMD.

Misaligned Disk

Every joint has an articular disc on either side. This disc allows the separation of the jaw from the cavity space, encouraging distinct movements to occur. Abnormal jaw usage or too much pressure on the jaw could trigger a misaligned or eroded disc. 

Accident or Injury

Another possible reason for jaw problems is when an accident or injury occurs. Any strong impact could damage the jaw or the joint and even leave it misaligned or sore for a long time. Worse, the impact could also reach the muscles in the neck and up to the head. 

Extreme Emotions

If you feel strong emotions, you may unconsciously clench your jaw. Stress or anger could make you clench your teeth. When too much pressure is applied, it could trigger TMD. 

Arthritic Damage

Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and psoriatic arthritis can affect the jaw. Its severity can range from mild to extreme and usually starts with TMD. 

How to Know If You Suffer From TMD

You can check in with your dentist if you are experiencing potential TMD symptoms. They would first evaluate the condition of your jaw through a physical examination, which may include:

  • Opening and closing your mouth
  • Testing its range of motion
  • Listening and feeling the jaw while doing some jaw exercises
  • Exerting pressure on some areas of the jaw to determine any painful point
  • Undergoing a dental X-ray to visualize the bone structure
  • Undergoing a TMJ arthroscopy to check if the insides of the joint

How to Treat TMD

TMD can bring severe pain to the patient, and fortunately, managing the pain is relatively easy. Here are some simple home remedies that can help:

  • Massaging the affected area
  • Exercising the joint
  • Placing ice on the affected area

If the situation gets worse, you can also explore the following:

  • Over-the-counter medications
  • Physical therapy
  • Botox therapy


Although there is no defined ultimate cause for TMJ disorders, it does not mean you should not take it seriously. TMD can lead to severe pain. If you believe you are experiencing symptoms, it is best to clarify your situation with a professional as soon as possible. That way, you would know exactly what to do or how to treat it. 

Shallowford Family are your trusted dentists in Chattanooga, TN. If you feel TMD symptoms, we can help assess your situation and provide treatment. Schedule your appointment with us today!


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