New Patients (202) 851-7554

Current Patients (202) 659-1227

1712 I Street N.W. Suite 710 Washington, DC 20006

What You Need To Know About TMJ

What Is TMJ?

TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint. These joints are located on each side of your jaw, and they attach your jaw to the base of your skull. The muscles near them let you open and close your mouth. But sometimes, the joints get out of line or don’t move as they should, caused by a previous health condition or possibly an injury suffered to your jaw. You might have heard that problem called TMJ, but it’s actually TMD which stands for temporomandibular joint disorder.

What Are Symptoms That May Be A Sign Of TMJ?

Signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders may include:

  • Pain or tenderness of your jaw
  • Earache and ear pain
  • Difficulty chewing or pain while chewing
  • Facial pain
  • Locking of the joint
  • Difficulty moving the jaw

What Causes TMJ?

It’s not always clear what brings on TMD. The most common reason is when the piece of cartilage in the joint slips out of place. Other things that can cause it to include:

  • An injury or dislocated jaw
  • Teeth or jaws that aren’t lined up right
  • Teeth grinding
  • Arthritis, which can damage the cartilage in the joint

What Are My Treatment Options For TMJ?

One of the most common causes of TMJ / TMD is from grinding of the teeth. This is medically called Bruxism. If Dr. Deckard deems that your TMD is from Bruxism, then he may before you mouth guard to wear while you are sleeping to prevent you from grinding your teeth. Often, this will help relieve the pain caused by TMD. If that is not the cause, Dr. Deckard may recommend some easy things that you can do at home such as:

  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • Use a hot or cold compress on your jaw.
  • Eat softer foods.
  • Try to minimize your jaw movements.
  • Do exercises to stretch and relax your jaw.
  • Stop chewing gum.

For additional information on how we diagnose and treat TMJ disorders, please visit TMJ treatment.


To learn more about TMJ, visit DC Precision Dentistry. Washington, DC dentist Dr. Deckard works with patients one on one to design a personalized solution based on their needs. If you or a loved one is suffering from jaw pain or having difficulty chewing or eating, contact us today to schedule a consultation, call (202) 851-7554 or request an appointment online.