TMJ & TMD Therapy

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TMJ & TMD Therapy in Hamilton, NJ

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your upper and lower jaw. It’s a pivotal component of daily functions like speaking, eating, or even simply opening your mouth. However, when this joint encounters problems, it can lead to a condition known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMD. Temporomandibular disorders can cause a laundry list of problems, including but not limited to head and neck aches, facial pain, ear pain, headaches, your jaw “locking” in position or becoming difficult to open, problems biting, and painful clicking or popping sounds when you bite.

The severe pain caused by temporomandibular joint disorder can be debilitating, but help is available. At Hamilton Dental Associates, we specialize in TMJ & TMD therapy in Hamilton, NJ, and neighboring areas including Trenton, Bordentown, Lawrenceville, and Robbinsville. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to diagnosing and treating TMJ disorders effectively, offering you relief from pain and improving your overall oral function. We have years of experience helping our patients recover from a variety of issues with their temporomandibular joints, ranging from jaw trauma to misaligned teeth and more.

With our comprehensive nonsurgical treatment options, our adult dentistry experts and TMJ specialists are committed to helping you relieve symptoms and regain comfort and functionality, allowing you to speak, eat, and laugh with ease again. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment, or keep reading to learn more about our TMJ pain relief options!

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TMJ & TMD Causes

Your Temporomandibular Joint: A Quick Guide

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is hard to spell, but not hard to find. If you place your fingers just in front of your ears and pay attention to your mouth opening, you can feel the joint and its movement. When you open your mouth, the rounded ends of the lower jaw, called condyles, glide along the joint socket of the temporal bone to aid your chewing muscles. The condyles slide back to their original position when you close your mouth.

To keep this motion smooth, a soft disk of cartilage lies between the condyle and the temporal bone. This disk is a vital part of the TMJ structure, as it absorbs shock from chewing, talking, teeth clenching, and other movements. Moving your jaw muscles creates a strong force, but when it’s performing correctly, the TMJ disc distributes the forces evenly throughout the jaw joint. However, people dealing with a temporomandibular disorder may encounter many problems while attempting these everyday tasks. Simply trying to eat soft foods, move your facial muscles slightly, or make the slightest jaw movement can be agony. Such is the reality of TMJ disorders — a reality that no one wants to deal with!

What Causes Temporomandibular Disorders?

Temporomandibular disorders have a number of causes, although many of our patients do not know that their jaw pain is actually TMJ symptoms. Here are a few possible reasons you may be suffering from temporomandibular joint dysfunction:

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Misaligned Teeth

When teeth are missing or out of alignment, it causes the jaw to shift positions and the muscles to work harder to chew, swallow, and bite. This will eventually cause muscle spasms, tension and pain. Schedule an appointment with our team today. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon can evaluate your upper and lower teeth to determine the most appropriate treatment for you.


Some people may have a genetic predisposition to developing temporomandibular disorders. If someone else in your family suffers from TMJ symptoms, it may be worthwhile to consult with a doctor or dentist to discuss the possibility that you may have TMJ dysfunction as well.


Sometimes, arthritis can be the cause of TMJ disorder. Osteoarthritis (wear-and-tear arthritis), rheumatoid arthritis (an autoimmune disease), and psoriatic arthritis can affect the jaw joint, leading to temporomandibular joint disorders.

Jaw Injury

Any trauma or injury to the jaw or temporomandibular joint can cause TMJ disorder. This could include a direct blow to the jaw or conditions that force the jaw into a misaligned position, such as whiplash. If you have recently suffered jaw trauma, visit Hamilton Dental Associates ASAP for TMJ & TMD therapy in Hamilton, NJ.

Orthopedic Problems

Inflammation, sore muscles, strained tendons and ligaments, and disk problems in the temporomandibular joint directly affect your jaw function, potentially leading to TMJ disorders. This may be why poor joint mobility is an often underreported common symptom of TMJ disorders. While physical therapy cannot eliminate TMJ disorder by itself, a physical therapist may be able to help you deal with some TMD symptoms caused by orthopedic issues.

Strain on Jaw Muscles or Joint

This can be due to overuse of the jaw muscles (for example, from chronic teeth grinding or clenching), poor posture that strains the neck and facial muscles, or even stress, which can cause people to tighten their facial and jaw muscles. If you have a habit of nighttime teeth grinding that is causing myofascial pain, it’s time to contact a doctor or dentist for assistance.

Other Health Conditions

Certain other health conditions, including some types of headaches and fibromyalgia, have been associated with adverse effects on the jaw joint. If this is the case, our oral surgeons may recommend speaking with your medical care team before we prescribe oral splints, prescription medications, or other TMJ pain treatments.

Common Symptoms of TMD

As Hamilton’s leading adult and pediatric dentistry experts, we often see patients who experience textbook TMD symptoms but have never been diagnosed with TMJ disorders. Any of these symptoms can occur as a result of temporomandibular disorders:

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Headaches & Migraines

Frequent headaches, facial pain, or aching neck muscles may be causing constant cranial strain. Headaches from dental stress are a type of muscle tension headache. A tension headache may be on one or both sides of your head and feels like a dull, non-throbbing ache that can usually be relieved by over-the-counter medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Jaw clenching, either while awake or while sleeping, can set the stage for a chronic headache or migraine pain. If you have a tooth grinding or jaw clenching habit, contact us today for TMJ & TMD therapy in Hamilton, NJ. We specialize in nonsurgical treatments that can relieve pain in your jaw joint and treat TMJ dysfunction.

Ear Congestion

Ear congestion is another symptom that can be associated with temporomandibular disorders. Given the close anatomical relationship between this vital jaw joint and the ear, inflammation or dysfunction in jaw joints can result in feelings of fullness, pressure, or even pain in the ear. Some patients with TMJ disorders may also experience tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or changes in hearing due to this congestion.

Tingling or Numbness in Fingers

While it might seem unrelated, tingling or numbness in the fingers can indeed be a symptom of TMD. Temporomandibular disorders can sometimes lead to muscle imbalances and postural changes that put pressure on nerves, resulting in these sensations in the extremities. Additionally, chronic pain from TMJ disorder can in turn cause stress and anxiety, which can contribute to physiological responses like tingling or numbness.

The TMJ Therapy Process

After a thorough clinical exam, including tracking jaw movements and imaging of the TMJ, our specialists will assess your TMJ function and demonstrate the severity level of your TMJ disorder. Simple or mild cases of TMD can be treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and a hot/moist compress. More advanced or complicated cases of TMJ disorder may necessitate the use of muscle relaxants or require surgical TMJ & TMD therapy in Hamilton, NJ.

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Bite Splints

If you have TMJ dysfunction, we may recommend bite splints (also called oral splints), which are acrylic devices worn on the upper teeth to reposition the jaw joints to the correct neuromuscular position. Having your jaw positioned correctly will relieve pain and create less tension, reducing TMJ dysfunction. While you are being treated with bite splints, we recommend extreme jaw movements and teeth grinding. We also recommend that you avoid chewing gum, as gum chewing can exacerbate existing TMJ dysfunction issues.

Get Help for Jaw Pain Today!

The jaw pain caused by TMJ disorder can change your life for the worse, but Hamilton Dental Associates is here to help with our comprehensive TMJ & TMD therapy in Hamilton, NJ. If your jaw joints have been causing you distress, reach out to our TMJ dysfunction specialists today. We can help you find the relief you deserve, and we’re looking forward to helping you!