TMJ Treatment in ABQ

Pointing to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) on a model school

Brian K. Dennis, DDS PC provides TMJ treatment in Albuquerque, NM. Call 505-292-1051 to learn more and schedule your appointment. 

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are located on each side of our faces, connecting the jawbone to the skull. These small joints perform an important job each time we open or close our mouths, but we rarely think about them until they begin to cause pain. TMJ disorders lead to pain in the cheeks, jaw, and ears; they can make it difficult to perform everyday functions like chewing and yawning, impacting overall quality of life.

When TMJ disorders are mild, they can often be treated with self-managed care such as eating soft foods, applying cold compresses to calm inflammation, and avoiding extreme or sudden jaw movements. If these strategies do not work, it’s important to seek medical attention. Dentists have specialized knowledge about the function of the jaw and facial muscles, making them the best choice for TMJ disorder treatment. Dr. Dennis has completed a year-long residency program at the University of Southern California where he received advanced training in the treatment of facial pain and temporomandibular disorders.

More About TMJ Disorders (TMD)

There are three categories of TMJ disorders:

    • Myofascial pain – This involves discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function. Patients who clench their jaws or grind their teeth often experience this type of pain.

    • Internal Derangement of the Joint – TMD can also be caused by mechanical issues in the joints themselves, such as displaced discs, dislocation, or injury to the condyle.

    • Arthritis – Patients with arthritis may experience symptoms in the temporomandibular joints.

Most Common Symptoms of TMJ Disorders Include:

The most common symptoms of TMJ disorders include:

    • Headaches
    • Soreness in the temples, jaw, and cheeks
    • Earaches caused by the close proximity of the TMJ to the ear canals
    • Facial pain
    • Tightness in the jaw, including locking
    • Popping or clicking sounds when eating or opening the mouth
    • Difficulty chewing

These symptoms are often exacerbated by stress, or they may be constant. 

It’s important to see a qualified professional for the treatment of TMD because effective treatment depends on a good diagnosis that identifies the root cause of your pain. Nonsurgical treatments include anti-inflammatory medication, Botox injections, and stabilization splints. When TMD is severe, surgical treatments like jaw joint replacements may be necessary.

Call 505-292-1051 505-292-1051 to schedule your appointment.

Frequently Asked Questions About TMJ Disorder

Is TMJ caused by stress?

TMJ disorder isn’t directly caused by stress, but stress and TMD are closely linked. When you’re experiencing stress or anxiety, it can cause tension in the body, leading to teeth grinding and jaw clenching. This grinding and clenching can cause TMJ disorder.

What can a dentist do for TMJ?

Dentists can diagnose TMJ disorder and provide a customized treatment plan that addresses the underlying cause of your TMD, rather than simply treating the symptoms. Depending on your needs, treatment may include self-managed care, a splint to wear at night, or surgery involving one or both joints.

What is the difference between TMJ and TMD?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joints, which are the joints located on both sides of your jaw to connect it to your skull. When these joints are not functioning properly, it causes TMJ disorder, also known as TMD. Outside of dentistry, many people refer to TMJ disorder as TMJ, but this is technically incorrect.

Does TMJ get worse with age?

For some patients, TMJ disorder is temporary, but for others, it continues to get worse as time goes on. Because of this, it’s important to seek treatment in order to prevent permanent damage from occurring.

Is TMJ disorder serious?

Yes, TMJ disorder can be serious. Left untreated, it can lead to lasting damage to the joints, sometimes even requiring joint replacement. It can cause chronic pain in the jaw, face, and neck, headaches and migraines, earaches, dizziness, and a variety of other symptoms. When TMJ pain makes it difficult to live your life to the fullest, it can lead to depression and if your TMJ is caused by teeth grinding or jaw clenching, your oral health may be compromised.