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3D rendered xray of a skull with the TMJ highlighted The temporomandibular joints, commonly called the TMJ, are the joints located on each side of your face where your lower jaw meets your skull. These joints, in conjunction with the attached bones, muscles, and ligaments, are responsible for the movement of your jaw. The joints enable you to open and close your mouth as well as move the lower jaw from side to side. If these joints become irritated, you may find it difficult, and painful, to move your mouth, even a little. Cooley Smiles can help.


Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, is a term that describes some different issues that affect the condition of your temporomandibular joints, your jaws, and the attached muscles and ligaments. These issues irritate the joints or surrounding areas, causing pain as well as difficulty using your mouth.

Pain in the joints and jaw is generally the most common symptom of TMD. There are also several others that may occur, including
•  Pain in your face.
•  Swelling of the joints.
•  You might find it difficult to eat, speak, or even open your mouth at all.
•  Your jaw may lock open or closed, and you are temporarily unable to move it.
•  You notice a clicking, popping, or grinding sound or sensation at the joints when you move your mouth.
•  You experience chronic headaches or earaches. While these issues seem to be unrelated, the radiation of pain from the joints can spread up the back of the skull or into the ears.

What Causes TMD?

TMD can be caused by some different issues.
•  Bruxism. This is a condition in which you grind and clench your teeth. The forces your muscles exert not only exhaust them, but also place unnecessary strain on the joints. This condition can be caused by stress, alignment issues, and certain lifestyle habits.
•  Facial trauma. Facial injuries, which can be sustained in a car accident, a fall, or some other type of injury, can affect the jaw and the temporomandibular joints.
•  Jaw dislocation. Even if your jaw becomes dislocated for only a few seconds, it can cause tiny tears that can irritate the joints.
•  Certain types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis causes the degradation of the cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis causes the joints to become inflamed.

How is TMD Diagnosed?

If you are experiencing symptoms of TMD, it is important to be seen as soon as possible. Diagnosing TMD involves a thorough oral exam. We take a close look at your teeth, assessing wear patterns and alignment. We also examine the alignment of your jaws. In addition to a visual exam, X-rays are taken so that we can see the condition of your mouth below the gum line. With a full picture of your oral condition, we can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and a treatment plan that will provide you with the best possible results.

What Treatments are Available?

There are a few different treatment options available for TMD. The exact treatment you receive depends upon your diagnosis.
•  Taking care at home. For minor TMD, home care can often be enough. This might include over the counter pain relievers, prescription pain relievers, or stress reduction techniques.
•  Oral appliances. An oral appliance is a type of mouth guard that is designed to be worn while you sleep. It covers the top teeth, much like a sports mouth guard, providing a cushion against the forces your jaw exerts on your teeth and jaw.
•  Orthodontic treatment. If your teeth or jaws are misaligned, orthodontics can help.

If your jaw and temporomandibular joints are causing you discomfort, it is time to seek dental help. Call Cooley Smiles today at (425) 569-4545 to schedule your consultation today.

Get in Touch!

(425) 569-4545


19505 76th Ave. West Suite # 100
Lynnwood, WA 98036-5045

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Cooley Smiles - Lynnwood, 19505 76th Ave. West Suite # 100, Lynnwood, WA 98036, (425) 569-4545,, 7/14/2024, Related Phrases: dentist Lynnwood WA,