TMJ disorder: symptoms, causes, and treatment

Written by: Dr Ayhan Uyanlar
Edited by: Conor Lynch

In this article below, Dr Ayhan Uyanlar, a highly esteemed and respected orthodontist, outlines the various causes and symptoms related to TMJ disorder.

What is TMJ disorder and what are the related symptoms?

TMJ disorder, also known as TMD, is a condition that affects the temporomandibular joint, which connects the lower jaw to the skull. This joint enables essential movements such as chewing, speaking, and yawning.


When the TMJ becomes damaged or inflamed, it can lead to TMJ disorder, resulting in pain, discomfort, and dysfunction in the jaw and surrounding areas. Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:


  • jaw pain or tenderness
  • clicking or popping sounds
  • limited jaw movement
  • locking of the jaw
  • muscle stiffness in the jaw muscles, face, or neck
  • ear pain and ringing
  • headaches
  • facial pain


What are the potential causes of TMJ disorder?

Potential causes of TMJ disorder can be multifactorial and may include jaw injury, teeth grinding (bruxism), connective tissue disorders, poor posture, chewing gum or nail-biting, inflammation of the joint, dislocation, stress, and anxiety.


How is TMJ disorder diagnosed?

Diagnosing TMJ disorder involves a comprehensive evaluation, including a review of medical and dental history, a physical examination of the jaw and surrounding areas, bite analysis, and imaging tests like X-rays, CT scans, or MRI to assess the joint's structure and rule out other potential causes.


What treatment options are available for TMJ disorder?

The treatment of TMJ disorder depends on its severity and specific symptoms experienced. The main treatment options include:


  • oral appliances
  • physical therapy
  • dental treatments
  • medications
  • injections
  • surgery


Are there any self-care techniques or lifestyle changes that can help manage TMJ disorder symptoms?

In addition to professional treatments, self-care techniques and lifestyle changes can help manage TMJ disorder symptoms. Maintaining good posture, avoiding excessive jaw movements and hard foods, refraining from habits that strain the jaw, sleeping on the back, and applying heat or ice therapy are some self-care practices that may provide relief.


If you would like to make an appointment with Dr Ayhan Uyanlar, you can do just that by heading over to his Top Doctors profile today. 

By Dr Ayhan Uyanlar

Dr Ayhan Uyanlar is a highly revered and experienced orthodontist who specialises in orthodontics, temporomandibular joint disorder, orthognathic surgery, obstructive sleep apnoea, mandibular advancement device, and facial pain. He is currently practising at the Harley Street Dental Studio clinic in London.

Dr Uyanlar, who successfully completed a DMD at the Faculty of Dentistry, Hacettepe University, Turkey in 2002, previously held the respective roles as lecturer and clinical supervisor at the Yeditepe University Department of Orthodontics in Istanbul from 2013 to 2014. He would then go on to obtain a PhD in orthodontics at said university in 2010. 

Notably, Dr Uyanlar undertook specialist and intensive training at the renowned Roth-Williams Center in San Sebastian, Spain, where he would learn first-hand all about advanced techniques in orthodontics from Dr Domingo Martin. Not only that, but Dr Uyanlar also opted to undertake training at the OBI Foundation for Bioesthetic Dentistry in California, where he further specialised in comprehensive dental care

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