What does TMJ or TMD stand for?

TMJ disorder, stands for Temporomandibular joint disorder. The temporomandibular joint involves both sides of your lower jaw. It is different from any other joint in the body as it does not rotate in the socket, but moves along the bones of the skull.

- Dr. Gunnerson -

The TMD joint is what holds your jaw in place to the rest of your head. It is located just in front of your ears. If you place two fingers in front of your ears, and open and close your mouth, you may be able to feel the joint moving.

Common symptoms of TMJ disorder are: lockjaw clicking or popping when you chew or yawn, Limited range of motion in the jaw, ear pain, ringing in your ears, chronic facial pain, chronic neck/back pain, painful swallowing, teeth grinding/ pain, sensitive teeth, chronic headaches, dizziness and loss of balance.

Do I have a TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorders and Sleep Apnea are not necessarily related, however, many people who suffer from sleep apnea also suffer from a TMJ disorder. One symptom of sleep apnea is clenching at night in your sleep. Clenching pushes the bones of the jaw deep into the joint causing inflammation in the joint space. This inflammation leads to TMJ issues.

Are TMJ and Sleep Apnea related?

This depends on the severity of the case. In some instances the temporomandibular joint disorder has reached a point where it can no longer be completely reversed. Much like having arthritis in the hands or the knees. However, through proper treatment, healing of the joint can occur and a pseudo disc can be created to prevent further damage to the joint relieving many symptoms of TMD.

Can TMJ be cured?

Frequently patients who have TMD disorders also experience ringing in their ears or ‘tinnitus’. Due to the inflammation of the joint and the pull on the muscles and ligaments holding the joint in place, many patients experience ringing in their ears.

Are TMJ and tinnitus related?

When an individual is experiencing TMJ issues, the body's natural response is to move away from the area of irritation. The body can’t move away from the joint but instead individuals will tilt their head or rotate the head slightly to one side or forward. The subtle change in position puts an individual off balance and creates potential dizziness.

Can TMJ cause dizziness?

TMJ disorders are caused by multiple factors. Often they are a result of trauma, such as being hit or bumped in the face, causing the jaw to fall out of alignment and the disc to become displaced.

How is TMJ caused?

TMJ can also be caused by improper use of the facial muscles used for swallowing and chewing. This often starts as early as infancy as a result of a tongue tie or similar palate issue. Disorders of this type can be treated with Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy in childhood.

Orofacial Myofunctional therapy specifically targets the facial and throat muscles through physical conditioning. Oral issues such as: a small palate, teeth crowding and sleep apnea can be a result of improper use of the facial muscles.

What is Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy?

TMJ disorders can be treated aggressively through surgery or can be treated in a more non-invasive method by decompressing the joint space for a period of time. This is accomplished through the use of medical orthotics custom made to your individual condition. At TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Utah of Utah we recommend a less invasive option before resorting to surgery.

How is TMJ treated?

If you want relief for your TMJ problems and sleep apnea, and if you live in and around Payson, Elk Ridge, Mapleton, Woodland Hills, Springville, and Spanish Fork in Utah, call us at

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