TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are a family of problems related to your jaw joint. If you have had symptoms like pain or a “clicking” sound, you’ll be glad to know that these problems are more easily diagnosed and treated than they were in the past. These symptoms occur when the joints of the jaw and the chewing muscles do not work together correctly. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the name for each joint (right and left) that connects your jaw to your skull. Since some types of TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection and treatment are important.

No one treatment can resolve TMJ disorders completely and treatment takes time to become effective. Dr. Urbanek and Dr. Urbina can help you have a healthier, more comfortable jaw.

Trouble with your jaw?

TMJ disorders develop for many reasons. You might clench or grind your teeth, tightening your jaw muscles and stressing your TM joint. You may have a damaged jaw joint due to injury or disease. Injuries and arthritis can damage the joint directly or stretch or tear the muscle ligaments. As a result, the disk, which is made of cartilage and functions as the “cushion” of the jaw joint, can slip out of position. Whatever the cause, the results may include a misaligned bite, pain, clicking, or grating noise when you open your mouth, or trouble opening your mouth wide.

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Do You Have a TMJ Disorder?

  • Are you aware of grinding or clenching your teeth?
  • Do you wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaws?
  • Do you have frequent headaches or neck aches?
  • Does the pain get worse when you clench your teeth?
  • Does stress make your clenching and pain worse?
  • Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, or lock when you open your mouth?
  • Is it difficult or painful to open your mouth, eat, or yawn?
  • Have you ever injured your neck, head, or jaws?
  • Have you had problems (such as arthritis) with other joints?
  • Do you have teeth that no longer touch when you bite?
  • Do your teeth meet differently from time to time?
  • Is it hard to use your front teeth to bite or tear food?
  • Are your teeth sensitive, loose, broken or worn?

The more times you answered “yes”, the more likely it is that you have a TMJ disorder. Understanding TMJ disorders will also help you understand how they are treated.

TMJ Treatment

There are various treatment options for TMJ that Drs. Urbanek and Urbina can utilize to improve the harmony and function of your jaw. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, Drs. Urbanek or Urbina will determine the proper course of treatment. It is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach of self-care combined with professional care.

The initial goals are to relieve the muscle spasms and joint pain. This is usually accomplished with a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, or muscle relaxant. Steroids can be injected directly into the joints to reduce pain and inflammation. Self-care treatments can often be effective as well and include:

  • Resting your jaw
  • Keeping your teeth apart when you are not swallowing or eating
  • Eating soft foods
  • Applying ice and heat
  • Exercising your jaw
  • Practicing good posture

Stress management techniques such as biofeedback or physical therapy may also be recommended, as well as a temporary, clear plastic appliance known as a TMJ Device. A TMJ Device (or nightguard) fits over your top or bottom teeth and helps keep your teeth apart, thereby relaxing the muscles and reducing pain. There are different types of appliances used for different purposes. A nightguard helps you stop clenching or grinding your teeth and reduces muscle tension at night. It also helps to protect the cartilage and joint surfaces. An anterior positioning appliance moves your jaw forward, relieves pressure on parts of your jaw, and aids in disk repositioning. It may be worn 24 hours/day to help your jaw heal. An orthotic stabilization appliance is worn 24 hours/day, or just at night, to move your jaw into proper position. Appliances also help protect tooth wear.

What about bite correction or surgery?

If your TMJ disorder has caused problems with how your teeth fit together you may need treatment such as bite adjustment (equilibration), orthodontics with or without jaw reconstruction, or restorative dental work. Surgical options, such as arthroscopy and open joint repair restructuring, are sometimes needed, but are reserved for severe cases. Drs. Urbanek and Urbina do not consider TMJ surgery unless the jaw can’t open, is dislocated and non-reducible, has severe degeneration, or the patient has undergone appliance treatment unsuccessfully.

Ready to schedule a consultation with Dr. Urbanek or Dr. Urbina?

Call our office at TMJ Services Phone Number 615-771-1983 or request an appointment online.

TMJ Services

5 out of 5 stars based on 684 TMJ reviews.

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

I hesitated with calling Dr. Urbanek because I knew the “device” was not covered by insurance. After months of dealing with all of my symptoms, the worst being the constant ear pain and feeling as if I had been stuck under water, insurance coverage or not, I had to try it. Based on other testimonials, I was optimistic that I would have good results. 4 weeks in and the majority of symptoms have significantly diminished; most importantly the ear pain. I am very happy with my results thus far, I just now wish that I had not waited so long to make the call.

- Kristen M

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

Finally on the road to recovery thanks to Dr. Urbaneck!

- Casandra W

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

I had been told in the past that there was no solution for my TMJ pain and that I would have to live with it forever. Thanks to Dr. Urbanek, I am now pain free and completely happy! Total life changer!

- Jessie O

5 out of 5 stars on

Our Latest Patient Testimonial

For years I have been so embarrassed by my jaw popping loudly when I eat. It was annoying and concerning. My dentists recommended I see Dr. Urbanek. The more he taught me about my TMJ, the more I realized how much it was affecting my life. It was the root of all evil, haha. It has been the cause of my headaches, body numbness, nausea, dizziness, and everything in between. I’m very stubborn, so once I received my device I didn’t always wear it. It took some getting used to. Even though I didn’t wear it 24/7, I could still see a difference. I am not encouraging you to be stubborn like me. My point is that it was easy for me to feel better. I was scared of letting my TMJ go on untreated. I was afraid it would turn into my jaw locking up. I’m thankful I no longer have to worry about any of that. Thank you Dr. Urbanek.

- Jordan T

5 out of 5 stars on