Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ), also known as Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) affects millions of Americans. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimated that possibly as many as 10 million Americans suffer from TMJ disorders.

A woman lying down holds onto her jaw while wincing in pain.

What is TMJ? It’s a disorder where patients suffer various symptoms related to the movement of their jaws. Each of us has two temporomandibular joints–one on each side of our face–that make it possible to open and close our mouths and move our jaws from side to side.

We do not know the exact cause of TMJ, but several studies suggest arthritis, stress, habitual teeth grinding, birth defects, and growth disorders are possible sources of the disorder. While the exact cause remains unclear, there are several key signs that indicate you might be suffering from TMJ disorder.

Pain in the jaw, face, or head

While we do not always know the exact cause of TMJ, we do know it can cause intense throbbing pain in the jaw and face. This pain can come at any time of the day or night, and at night it can certainly prevent you from getting the sleep and rest your body needs.

Tender jaw muscles

Jaw tenderness is often caused by a strain on the jaw muscles or joints, and if this is a persistent issue, you need to see a TMJ dentist.

Migraine-like headaches

Intense headaches similar to migraines and accompanied by jaw stiffness and/or facial pain could be a sign of TMJ.

Jaw gets stuck or feels out of place

Waking up occasionally with a stiff jaw is not necessarily a cause for concern. If this occurs often, however, or develops during the course of the day, or your jaw begins feeling locked or out of place, you probably need to see a TMJ dentist.

Cracking, popping, clicking sounds

Probably the most telling indicator of TMJ are the sounds you hear when you move your jaws. If this movement is accompanied by pain in the face or jaws, then you need to see a TMJ dentist as soon as possible.

What makes a quality TMJ dentist in Chicago?

Very simply a quality TMJ dentist is one who has the training, experience, and insight to realize that TMJ may have multiple causes and in treating the disorder, a “one size fits all approach” is not satisfactory. Just as TMJ may spring from more than one condition, more than one treatment approach may well be necessary.

At Chicago Beautiful Smiles, that is exactly the kind of treatment you will receive for TMJ. Our dentists, Dr. Dennis B. Hartlieb and Dr. Cristopher Ching, both have extensive experience in the treatment of TMJ, and they use a variety of diagnostic techniques and treatment approaches in helping their patients deal with this disorder.

The treatment of TMJ is one of our specialties at Chicago Beautiful Smiles. You don’t have to ask yourself the question “Where can I find a quality TMj dentist near me?” because the answer is our clinic.

If you are suffering from the symptoms we have described, we urge you to contact our clinic to schedule your initial consultation with one of our TMJ specialists.