TMJ Specialist Denver

If you struggle with face and jaw pain, you may find it tough to chew food, concentrate on work, or even take care of your family. TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders aren’t just uncomfortable; they can also seriously degrade your quality of life.

TMJ disorders are very common. About 31% of adults have at least one TMJ symptom, such as headaches, chronic teeth grinding, and jaw pain.

If those symptoms of tmj sound familiar, the good news is that a TMJ specialist in Denver, CO, can help. At MD Pain, we offer cutting-edge TMJ treatment that can relieve TMJ pain and help you do what you love without persistent pain.

What Are TMJ Disorders?

Temporomandibular joint disorders, also called temporomandibular disorders (TMD), are a family of conditions that affect your temporomandibular joints, jaw muscles, and ligaments.

You have two TMJs on both sides of your face, located right in front of your ears. These joints connect your lower jawbone to your skull. Without them, you’d have a lot of trouble speaking and chewing.

Doctors classify TMJ disorders into three categories:

  • TMD-related headaches
  • Chewing muscle disorders
  • Jaw joint disorders

What Causes TMJ Disorders?

It’s difficult to point to one single cause, but TMJ and TMDs often flare up because of:

  • Stress
  • Teeth that don’t fit together properly (malocclusion)
  • Arthritis in the jaw joint
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth (bruxism)
  • Jaw injuries

If you have arthritis in other joints or have ever broken or dislocated your lower jaw before, you have a higher risk of developing a TMJ disorder.

TMJ Disorder Symptoms

Are you suffering from TMJ disorders? If it hurts to talk or chew, you might be. Other symptoms of a TMJ disorder can include:

  • Clicking or popping sounds when you stretch your jaw muscles
  • A feeling of tightness that makes it hard for you to open your mouth fully
  • Stabbing or shooting facial pain
  • Earaches or a feeling of fullness in your ears
  • Toothaches, but no cavities
  • Chronic pain in the neck or shoulder
  • Ringing or roaring in your ears (tinnitus)

Still not sure whether you have a TMJ disorder? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have trouble using your front teeth to chew food?
  • Does your jaw or face hurt worse when you’re stressed?
  • Do you wake up with jaw or facial pain?
  • Do you have frequent headaches?
  • Have you ever broken your jaw or injured your neck?
  • Do your upper and lower teeth not touch properly when you bite down?
  • Has your dentist told you that your teeth are worn down?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you may have a TMJ disorder and require TMJ treatment.

TMJ Headaches and Migraines

TMJ disorders are notorious for causing tension headaches and migraines. If you frequently wake up with headaches that seem to have no other cause, it’s possible that you suffer from a TMJ disorder.

You can treat occasional TMJ-related headaches with over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin and ibuprofen, but migraines are another story entirely. Migraines can be so severe that you feel nauseous, dizzy, and completely intolerant to light and sound.

Other common triggers of migraines include:

  • Weather changes
  • A lack of quality sleep
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes
  • Low blood sugar
  • Medications you’re taking

If you suffer from unexplainable headaches or migraines, a TMJ disorder could be the cause. At MD Pain, we offer customized treatments that can ease your headaches and may even stop them entirely.

Self-Care for TMJ Jaw Joint Disorders

Many people with TMJ(temporomandibular joint disorder) can alleviate some of their symptoms with basic self-care.

Try these at-home treatment tips:

  • If you feel sharp pain in your jaws, apply a cold pack to the area for about 10 to 15 minutes. Ice packs can burn your skin, so keep them wrapped in a cloth to avoid minor frostbite.
  • If the pain in your jaw is dull rather than sharp, soak a washcloth in hot water and hold it against the area for about 20 minutes.
  • Try taking over-the-counter pain relief medication, such as ibuprofen, if your doctor says it’s safe for you to do so.
  • Practice good posture by sitting upright in your chair. Many people who work desk jobs tend to slump forward in their chairs, which can trigger back, neck pain, and TMJ pain.
  • Avoid grinding your teeth. A night guard can help if you grind your teeth while asleep.
  • Eat soft, easy-to-chew foods to give your jaw a chance to rest. If chewing is too painful, stick with soup or puree your food in a blender.
  • Avoid hard, crunchy foods or food that requires you to open your mouth wide, such as corn on the cob.
  • Cut your food into small pieces to make it easier to chew.
  • Avoid chewing on pens or pencils
  • Never use your teeth as tools (for example, to open soda cans or rip tags off of clothing)

If these tips don't relieve your pain, schedule a consultation with us at MD Pain to get to the root cause of your pain and address it at the source to relieve pain.

Treatment for Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

If self-care doesn’t resolve your TMJ pain, other treatments are available. Non-surgical options include:

  • Medication, such as pain relievers, antidepressants, and muscle relaxers
  • A custom mouthguard that reduces teeth-grinding
  • An anterior positioning appliance to help relieve pressure on your jaw
  • Ultrasound therapy, which promotes muscle relaxation and boosts blood flow
  • Trigger point injections of botulinum toxin (Botox) or corticosteroids
  • Physical therapy to strengthen jaw joints
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), which employs low electrical currents to help relax jaw muscles

If your pain is severe, a TMJ treatment specialist in Denver may suggest surgery. Options include:

  • TMJ arthroscopy is also called keyhole surgery. During this procedure, a surgeon makes a small hole in front of your ear to remove scar tissue and reshape the bone.
  • Open-joint surgery, which could be an option if keyhole surgery isn’t an option for you
  • Arthrocentesis is a procedure in which surgeons use a needle to remove fluid from around jaw joints

How Will Your Doctor Diagnose a TMJ Disorder?

Doctors can diagnose TMJ disorders with a simple physical exam. During the exam, your doctor will:

  • Press on your jaw and face to locate painful areas
  • Watch the range of motion when you open your mouth
  • Feel your jaw joints while you open and close your mouth

Doctors can also use several types of imaging tests to diagnose TMJ disorder. These include:

  • TMJ arthroscopy
  • MRI
  • CT scans
  • Dental X-rays

Take Back Your Life With MD Pain

If your TMJ disorder makes it hard for you to talk or chew, you don’t need to live with the pain. Our team at MD Pain has years of experience helping patients with TMJ disorder in Denver, CO, and nearby cities.

Contact Us Today

To make an appointment with a TMJ specialist in Denver, call our office at (303) 750-8100.


Frequently Asked Questions