Elmhurst Dentist Explains the Importance of Treating TMJ

Written by Dr. Scharfenberg on May 3, 2011

As a dentist, it is always my goal to help my patients achieve smiles that are beautiful and functionally healthy. Last week I saw a patient of mine who was really struggling with jaw discomfort and tooth soreness. She had always taken excellent care of her teeth, and was cavity-free, so she didn’t understand why she was suddenly in pain. It turned out that she was suffering from the disruptive symptoms of TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder), which can strike no matter how well you take care of your smile.


Many of our patients come in to our office complaining of jaw soreness, headaches, and tooth pain without realizing that these are symptoms of TMJ disorders. Our Elmhurst TMJ dentists are always on the lookout for these problems when they meet with patients, but today I’d like to give you a brief overview of TMJ problems so that you can actively seek treatment if you need to.


The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw joint to the skull. This joint allows you to speak, chew, and move your jaw from side to side. TMJ disorders result when dysfunction of the muscles surrounding this joint restricts the movement of the jaw and causes pain.


Common symptoms of TMJ dysfunction include jaw pain/tenderness, headaches, dizziness, teeth grinding, jaw popping/clicking, and restricted jaw mobility. You may even find that your jaw “catches,” meaning that you are unable to open your jaw all the way.


TMJ symptoms are painful and disruptive. Importantly, if they are left untreated they can become significantly worse over time. Eventually you could experience muscle spasms, inflammation of your temporomandibular joint and jaw, and sleep disturbances. Chronic teeth grinding and uneven biting will cause your teeth to weaken and wear down prematurely. This is why it’s so important to seek treatment from a TMJ dentist if you experience such symptoms.


Not many patients realize that TMJ problems are treatable with non-invasive, easy to use solutions. Our Elmhurst TMJ dentists often use small dental appliances to adjust the bite and relieve TMJ symptoms. Hopefully you now know that if you have TMJ problems you can recognize them and seek effective treatment to relieve your discomfort. If you are interested in learning more about TMJ disorder or you’d like to discuss your options with our Elmhurst dentists, please give us a call at (630) 733-1624.