The joints and jaw muscles that make it possible to open and close your mouth are known as the temporomandibular joints, or TMJ. There is a joint located on each side of the head, anchoring the lower jaw to the rest of your skull and allowing you to speak, chew, and even swallow properly. These joints also allow you to have control over your lower jaw.

The TMJ are ball and socket joints, with a disc between each ball and socket. This disc is necessary to cushion the pressure put on the joint while still allowing the joint to open, rotate, and move. Any issue that inhibits these muscles, ligaments, bones, and discs from working correctly may result in a painful TMJ disorder, most of which fall under an umbrella of problems known as TMD – temporomandibular joint disorder.


Below are a few common issues that may arise with your temporomandibular joint:

  • Dislocation of the joint
  • Physical injury to the joint
  • Arthritis
  • Misalignment of the jaw or teeth
  • Bruxism, which is the grinding or clenching of the teeth during sleep

Before treatment can be completed, your specific TMD will need to be diagnosed. The muscles and joints will be checked for tenderness, swelling, or popping or clicking noises when the jaw opens or shuts.


Depending on your symptoms, any of the following treatments may be recommended:

  • Jaw exercises to strengthen the muscles
  • Medications such as muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories, or anti-anxiety drugs
  • A night guard or bite plate to wear to bed in the case of bruxism
  • Orthodontic treatment to realign the jaw
  • Jaw surgery for more severe cases

If you’ve been experiencing pain in your jaw muscles or if you believe that you may be suffering from bruxism, please contact Balota Family Dentistry. Our Colorado Springs, Colorado dental office is here to help with all TMJ treatment needs.

Bioesthetic Dentistry is a philosophy of treatment that diagnoses the cause of tooth wear and other chewing system disharmony such as TMD instead of focusing purely on the symptoms. A comprehensive and detailed investigation of your tooth positions and the way your teeth fit and work together (occlusion) and the functioning of your jaw joints (temporomandibular joint) forms the basis of your care. The objective is to restore functionality in a natural way to establish a perfect harmony between all parts of the chewing system and restore your teeth to their optimal shape and relationship – resulting in a healthy, highly functional, unworn and beautiful smile.

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