TMJ Disorder


Commonly Asked Questions

What is TMJ Disorder?

Two joints and several jaw muscles are utilized when the mouth is opened and closed.  These structures work in perfect unison every time you chew, speak or swallow.  This assembly consists of muscles, ligaments, the jaw bone, and the lower jaw connected by two joints called the TMJ’s.  These TMJ joints that connect the lower jaw on each side of your head can make a wide array of movements needed for both “up and down” movements used in speaking and “rotational and gliding” movements used for chewing.  Several muscles control these movements and each joint is cushioned by a disc in the socket of the jaw bone to allow full mobility.  As you can see, many delicate parts are vital to the action of opening and closing the mouth.  Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs, and bones from performing correctly may result in discomfort and pain known as TMJ disorder.  Over 15 percent of American adults suffer from this TMJ disorder and chronic facial pain.

What are the symptoms of TMJ disorder?

Dr. Daniel Mishaan has years of experience treating patients with TMJ disorder.  Over the years, he has recognized common symptoms of TMJ to include the following:

  • Pain in or around the ear
  • Tenderness of the jaw
  • Clicking or popping noises when the mouth is opened or closed
  • Headaches or neck aches

How do I know if I have TMJ disorder

If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, make an appointment with Dr. Mishaan or a dentist in your area as soon as possible.  Your dentist can perform exams and the appropriate x-rays in order to identify the source of the pain.  This pain or discomfort could be the result of sinus trouble, a toothache, or the early stages of periodontal disease.  However, if more serious, the pain could be related to facial muscles, the jaw, or the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).  TMJ disorder can be caused by arthritis, injury, improper bite, stress, or a long list of other factors.  Therefore, treatment is often based on the cause.  Once your dentist locates the problem, they will work with you to lay out a treatment plan.  Treatments for this pain may include stress reducing exercises, muscle relaxants, or wearing a mouth guard to prevent teeth grinding.  Your dentist will recommend what type of treatment is needed for your particular problem or recommend that you be referred to a specialist.