Spotting the Warning Signs of TMJ Disorders

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the hinges that connect your jaw to your skull, allowing it to open and close and move side to side.  A special type of tissue called cartilage protects the bones in your jaw, and a rubbery articular disc between the bones acts as a shock absorber. When your TMJ are healthy, your jaw movements should be easy, smooth, and pain-free.

When you have a TMJ disorder — often erroneously referred to as TMJ — you could develop a range of symptoms that only worsen if they aren’t treated. Up to 12% of women, men, and children have a TMJ disorder. Signs that your TMJ is compromised include:

At Dental Center of Tysons Corner in McLean, Virginia, dentists Dr. Maqsood Chaudhry and Dr. H.R. Makarita, are experts at using state-of-the-art physiologic-based techniques to pinpoint the trouble in your TMJ, resolving pain and dysfunction. 

Other symptoms of TMJ disorders

Because the head, neck, and jaw are all interconnected by muscles, tendons, and nerves, you could have a TMJ disorder, even if you haven’t manifested the classic jaw-related symptoms. Other warning signs that your TMJ needs attention include:

When you come to Dental Center of Tysons Corner, be sure to tell our dentists about any pain, discomfort, or unusual symptoms that involve your jaw, face, neck, or head. If Dr. Chaudhry or Dr. Makarita suspect you have a TMJ disorder, they conduct a thorough examination to pinpoint the cause of your symptoms. Our dentists and hygienists may ask you about symptoms if they notice any jaw popping or difficulties you have when opening or closing your mouth.

Determining the source of TMJ symptoms

The TMJ is a delicate joint with several moving parts that can become degraded or dislodged. Common causes of TMJ disorders include:

Our dentists use three different modalities to evaluate how your jaw opens and closes and to determine any areas of disease or dislocation. If you have symptoms of a TMJ disorder, they may order:

Computerized mandibular scan

This tracking device is attached to your skull and jaw in several different positions. The computerized mandibular scan evaluates and analyzes the movement of your jaw when you open and close your mouth, make chewing motions, swallow, and are at rest.


The electromyograph (EMG) analyzes the electrical activity in your TMJ muscles during motion and at rest. The analysis helps identify areas of muscle tension.


The electrosonograph (ESG) records the sounds your jaw makes when it opens and closes. The ESG test is more accurate and precise than listening to your jaw with a stethoscope and helps detect the areas where your TMJ may be damaged, stressed, or misaligned.


X-ray studies of your teeth and jaw help your dentists locate areas where your teeth don’t meet or are otherwise out of alignment.

Get relief from your TMJ

Once our dentists determine the cause of your symptoms and TMJ disorder, they may recommend a number of customized treatments. Possible therapies include:

You don’t have to live with TMJ disorders or wait until your symptoms worsen. Call us today, or contact us with the online form.

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