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Updated: Mar 23, 2022

Before you can understand TMJ syndrome, you first must understand what TMJ stands for.

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, and this is the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. This joint is involved in speaking and chewing. Sometimes, injury or damage to this joint can cause what we call TMJ syndrome, a painful and often irritating condition.

What Does TMJ Syndrome look like?

TMJ syndrome can display a number of different signs and symptoms, including:


Stiff / sore jaw muscles

Jaw clicking / popping

Pain, especially in the jaw joint


Pain centered around the temples

Locking jaw

Popping sound in the ears

What Causes TMJ Syndrome?

There are many things that can cause TMJ syndrome, but the most common causes are trauma/injury to the teeth and jaw, bruxism (or tooth grinding), stress and jaw-clenching, excessive gum-chewing, arthritis, poor posture, or tooth or jaw misalignment.

How is TMJ Syndrome Treated?

Sometimes, TMJ syndrome can be treated at home using over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, ice packs, massage, or stress-reduction techniques. It can also be as simple as cessation of gum-chewing, if that’s the cause in the first place. However, sometimes home remedies aren’t enough. In this case, there are several ways it can be treated with the assistance of a dentist or specialist. Some methods of treatment include physical therapy, dental splints, injections (usually Botox), prescription pain medication, or surgery.

TMJ Syndrome is fairly common, but the good news is that it can often be improved with lifestyle changes, such as attention to posture, cessation of gum chewing, and stress management techniques. If you are experiencing signs and symptoms of TMJ syndrome, or if you have questions about recommendations for treatment, consult with your dentist.

To learn more about TMJ syndrome, visit Dr. Kevin M. Christ at

Dr. Christ and his wonderful team care for patients of all ages in Centennial, Colorado and surrounding areas.

August 20, 2019

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