TMJ / TMD 101


Do you suffer from pain around your teeth and in your jaw? Migraines, sore neck, back and shoulders? There are a number of reasons why you might be in pain.

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD)

There are a number of reasons you could have TMD/TMJD, a disorder that can be extremely painful and impact your life in many ways. TMD is an acute or chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint—the joint which connects the mandible to your skull. This disorder can cause significant dysfunction, pain and even impairment.


TMJ Causes

We’ve listed some of the most common causes of TMJ / TMJD. If you would like to find out more information about the causes of tmj, please visit our Causes of TMJ page.

Missing teeth

A missing tooth can affect tooth position, which in turn affects the bite and may create and cause TMD changes.


Having a new filling or crown placed in your mouth, or having teeth straightened, can affect the bite in subtle ways and lead to TMD.


If you were predestined by genetics to have insufficient room in your jaw for your teeth, this could lead to TMD.

Gum recession

The force from teeth clenching or grinding can cause gum recession.

Ear problems

Inflammation in the joint can affect the middle and inner ear—if the estuation tube, which balances ear pressure, runs through a muscle in spasm, the resulting blockage will lead to dizziness, ear congestion or stuffiness.

Joint pain

The jaw joint becomes inflamed due to being pushed out of place by incorrect jaw movement, causing pain and discomfort.

Neck pain

If joint disease is present, there can be resulting stiffness in the neck and upper back, leading to pain and numbness in the fingertips.

Jaw clicking

This is progressive and is caused by stretching or damage to ligaments in the jaw joint. Increased muscle activity may result because of movements to prevent clicking.

Poor posture

It’s all connected, if there is pain and discomfort in the jaw, leading to stiffness in the neck and back, poor posture can result.

Wear of teeth

Constantly moving the lower jaw to be more comfortable can create excessive wear and tear on the teeth. Grinding teeth indicates moving the jaw to a more comfortable position; clenching indicates bracing to help relieve the strain of a muscle in spasm.

TMJ Symptoms

The most used joint in your body is your TMJ.
Think about that for a moment, every time you talk, chew, swallow, sing, yawn – you are using this joint. It’s one of the most important joints in your body while at the same time, probably the least recognized. Breathing, eating, drinking – all of them impossible without healthy and properly functioning jaws.

Here are just some of the most common TMJ symptoms:

  • Migraines & Headaches
  • Facial Pain
  • Ear Pain
  • Jaw/Joint Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Shoulder/Back Pain
  • Numbness in Arms, Hands, or Fingers
  • Postural Problems


TMJ Diagnosis

The Dental Center of Tysons Corner can help you to get back the life you had. At Tysons Aesthetic Dentistry, we look at the entire picture of what your health problems are, to ensure we get you back to optimal overall health.

To develop a diagnosis, The Dental Center of Tysons Corner will examine you for signs and symptoms of TMD. You may also undergo:

  • X-Rays of your teeth and jaw joints
  • Detailed casts of your teeth
  • Neuromuscular testing: computerized jaw tracking, sonography, 8-channel electromyography, T.E.N.S.
  • Determining what a more “balanced bite” would be—where jaw muscles, jaw joints and teeth are balanced


Dental Center of Tysons Corner
8270 Greensboro Drive, Suite 101
McLean, VA 22102
Phone: 703-214-6570
Office Hours

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