Downtown Pain Physicians

TMJ Jaw Pain

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Temporomandibular Joint

Our award-winning TMJ specialists at Downtown Pain Physicians offer jaw pain treatments to our patients in Manhattan & Brooklyn.

No matter the type of joint pains you are going through, come to our medical office, tell us about it, and let us get you treated. Send your pains away with just a visit to our office today. Having pains when chewing is not new to most people, these pains tend to disrupt the joy of eating our favorite meal, some even go as far as making one unable to communicate as they usually do. Temporomandibular jaw pains are one of those pains that affect chewing, let see what the cause is and prevent it.

FAQ: TMJ Disorder (TMD)

What Is The Temporomandibular Joint?

A Temporomandibular Joint is the joint that connects the jaw to the skull. Whenever this joint is damaged or injured, it will lead to a localized pain disorder known as temporomandibular joint syndrome. The joint is responsible are moving the jaw up and down and side to side, so one can chew, talk, and yawn. TMJ syndrome is a disorder of the jaw muscles and nerves which is caused by inflammation or injury to the TMJ.

The injured or inflamed temporomandibular joint leads to:

  • pain with chewing
  • crackling
  • clicking
  • popping of the jaw
  • nerve inflammation
  • swelling on the sides of the face
  • headaches including migraines

Temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ) can also be referred to as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).

What Causes TMJ Syndrome?

To date, what causes TMJ syndrome is yet to be known. However, pain physicians believe symptoms arise when the muscles of the jaw or with the parts of the joint itself have problems. In other words, injury to the joint, the jaw, or the muscles of anyone’s neck or head can lead to TMD. Apart from the above listed, other causes are:

  • misalignment of the teeth or jaw
  • teeth clenching or grinding
  • poor posture
  • gum-chewing stress
  • orthodontic braces
  • arthritis

What Are TMD Symptoms And Signs?

The main TMD symptom is pain in the jaw joint. The joint is located in front of the ear, and pain associated with TMJ may involve the eye, face ear, forehead, or neck.

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Other signs and symptoms of TMD include;

  • Difficulty in chewing
  • Pain at the base of the tongue
  • Pain that feels like a toothache
  • Pain, swelling, or a lump in the temple area
  • Ringing or popping sounds in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Difficulty in chewing
  • Pain at the base of the tongue
  • Pain that feels like a toothache
  • Pain, swelling, or a lump in the temple area
  • Ringing or popping sounds in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Shoulder pain
  • Locking or dislocation of the jaw (usually after widely yawning), referred to as lockjaw
  • Popping/clicking of the jaw (crepitus)
  • Blurred vision
  • Earache or sounds of cracking in the ears
  • Headaches, including migraines
  • Muscle spasms in the jaw
  • Sore jaw or neck muscles
  • Mouth pain, facial pain, cheek pain, jaw pain, or chin numbness or tingling

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Does insurance cover TMJ treatments?

Yes, usually medical insurance can cover many TMJ treatments, speak with your TMJ pain physician to see which they accept.

How is TMD treated?

At-home treatments:

  • Taking ibuprofen
  • Wearing a nightguard
  • Heat or cold pack

Nonsurgical treatment:

  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): Low-level electrical currents that relax the jaw and reduce jaw pain.
  • Ultrasound: Treatment that is applied to the TMJ to reduce pain or improve movement
  • Trigger-point injections: Pain medication is injected into muscles of the face to relieve oral pain.
  • Radio wave therapy: Creates  a low-level electrical stimulation to the joint to increase blood flow and reduce jaw pain

Surgical treatment:

  • Arthrocentesis: when the jaw is locked shut or swollen, liquids are injected into the joint to wash it out
  • Arthroscopy: with a small incision in front of the ear the doctor can insert an endoscope to view the damage and scar tissue inside the jaw and remove or wash it if necessary.
  • Open-joint surgery: a full surgery under anesthesia, used for the most severe cases.
This page was published on Jan 30, 2020, modified on Apr 4, 2021 by Dr. Raj Raval, MD (Pain Management Doctor)

The information on this website is to provide general information. In no way does any of the information provided reflect definitive treatment advice. It is essential to consult a best-in-class pain management specialist in New York regarding ANY questions or issues. A thorough evaluation should ALWAYS be performed for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. Be sure to call your pain doctor to schedule a consultation.

  • Dr. Raj Raval, M.D.

    1. Board Certified
    2. Interventional Pain & Musculoskeletal Medicine Specialist
  • Education & training

    1. SUNY Downstate PMR Residency
    2. Rutgers University Fellowship
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