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TMJ Disorder: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment Options in India

the best dentist for Temporo Mandibular joint dysfunction or tmd

Medically Reviewed
Last Reviewed by Platina Dental Clinical Team on April 10, 2024. Written by Dr. Swetha


Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder is a prevalent and multifaceted condition that affects the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. It’s a widespread issue in India, affecting a significant portion of the population. According to studies cited in the Indian Journal of Dental Research, the prevalence of TMJ disorders in India ranges from 20% to 60%, indicating the substantial burden it places on individuals’ oral health and overall well-being.

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TMJ dysfunction encompasses a range of symptoms and can significantly impact daily activities such as eating, speaking, and even sleeping. Understanding its symptoms, causes, and available treatments is crucial for effectively managing this condition and improving patients’ quality of life. Dr. Hepsiba, a TMJ specialist, emphasizes, “TMJ disorder can cause various symptoms, including TMJ pain, headaches, and jaw dysfunction.”

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    Symptoms may vary in severity from person to person. Common symptoms include:

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    • Jaw Pain or Tenderness: Pain in the jaw joint or muscles around the jaw is a hallmark symptom.
    • Difficulty Chewing: Patients may experience difficulty or discomfort while chewing, particularly when trying to eat harder or chewier foods.
    • Clicking or Popping Sounds: Some individuals may hear clicking, popping, or grating sounds when they open or close their mouths, indicating issues within the TMJ.
    • Jaw Locking: The jaw may temporarily lock in an open or closed position, causing significant discomfort and limiting movement.
    • Headaches: often localized around the temples or behind the eyes.
    • Ear Pain or Tinnitus: Patients may experience ear pain or a ringing sensation in the ears (tinnitus) due to the close proximity of the TMJ to the ear canal.
    • Facial Pain or Swelling: Pain or swelling in the face or cheeks may occur, particularly around the jaw joint.

    Dr. Swetha, clinical director at Platina Dental Clinics, states, “TMJ headache is a common complaint among patients, often accompanied by facial pain or swelling.”

    Treatment Options

    Treating TMJ dysfunction typically involves a combination of approaches aimed at alleviating pain, reducing inflammation, improving jaw function, and addressing underlying causes. Treatment options may include:

    • Lifestyle Changes: Practicing stress management techniques, adopting jaw exercises, and making dietary modifications can help alleviate symptoms.
    • Medications: Pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed to manage pain and reduce inflammation in the jaw joint.
    • Dental Treatments: Dentists may recommend wearing a bite guard or orthodontic devices to correct misaligned teeth or alleviate pressure on the TMJ.
    • Occlusal splints, also known as bite guards, are commonly prescribed to alleviate TMJ pain and reduce teeth grinding or clenching.
    occlusal splints for tmj treatment
    • Physical Therapy: Working with a physical therapist can help improve jaw mobility, strengthen the muscles surrounding the TMJ, and promote proper alignment.
    • Surgery: In severe cases where conservative treatments fail to provide relief, surgical interventions such as arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, or open joint surgery may be considered to repair or replace damaged joint structures.

    Dr. Swetha highlights, “TENS therapy, which uses electrical stimulation to relax muscles, can also be beneficial in managing TMD symptoms.”


    The exact cause is often multifactorial and may involve a combination of genetic, anatomical, environmental, and behavioral factors. Some common causes and contributing factors include:

    • Trauma to the Jaw: Accidents, injuries, or blows to the jaw can damage the TMJ, leading to pain and dysfunction.
    • Bruxism (Teeth Grinding or Clenching): Habitual teeth grinding or clenching, often occurring during sleep, can put excessive pressure on the TMJ and surrounding muscles.
    • Arthritis: Various forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, can affect the TMJ, leading to inflammation, pain, and joint deterioration.
    • Poor Posture: Improper posture, particularly in the head, neck, and shoulders, can strain the muscles and joints of the jaw.
    • Stress or Anxiety: Emotional stress and anxiety can manifest as muscle tension and jaw clenching, exacerbating TMJ symptoms.
    • Dental Misalignment: Malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth or jaws) can place uneven pressure on the TMJ, leading to pain and dysfunction.

    Dr. Hepsiba notes, “TMJ dislocation can occur due to trauma to the jaw joint, such as a blow to the face or whiplash injury.”


    Diagnosing TMD involves a comprehensive evaluation by a dentist or healthcare professional experienced in treating temporomandibular joint disorders.

    tmj pain

    The diagnostic process may include:

    • Medical History and Symptom Assessment: The healthcare provider will review the patient’s medical history, including any previous jaw injuries or treatments, and inquire about current symptoms.
    • Physical Examination: A thorough examination of the jaw joint, muscles, and surrounding structures will be conducted to assess for tenderness, swelling, or abnormalities.
    • Imaging Studies: X-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) scans may be ordered to visualize the TMJ and detect any structural abnormalities or damage.
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    • Dental Impression and Bite Analysis: Dental impressions may be taken to evaluate the alignment of the teeth and assess for signs of dental misalignment or occlusal issues.


    While not all cases of TMJ disorder can be prevented, adopting certain lifestyle habits and preventive measures may help reduce the risk of developing or exacerbating symptoms. Some strategies include:

    • Maintaining Good Posture: Practicing proper posture, particularly in the head, neck, and shoulders, can help reduce strain on the TMJ and surrounding muscles.
    • Avoiding Excessive Gum Chewing: Limiting excessive gum chewing or biting on hard objects can help prevent unnecessary strain on the jaw joint.
    • Stress Management: Incorporating stress-reduction techniques such as relaxation exercises, meditation, or yoga into daily routines can help alleviate muscle tension and reduce jaw clenching associated with stress.
    • Using Proper Ergonomics: Ensuring proper ergonomics in workspaces and environments can help minimize muscle strain and promote overall musculoskeletal health.
    • Seeking Prompt Dental Care: Seeking regular dental check-ups and promptly addressing any dental issues, such as malocclusion or tooth grinding, can help prevent or mitigate TMJ disorder.


    With proper diagnosis, treatment, and management, many individuals with TMJ disorder can experience significant improvement in their symptoms and quality of life. However, the effectiveness of treatment varies depending on individual factors such as the severity of the condition, underlying causes, and patient response to therapy. While some individuals may achieve long-term symptom relief with conservative treatments, others may require more intensive interventions or ongoing management to manage chronic TMJ symptoms and prevent recurrence.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on TMJ Disorder

    Q: Can TMJ disorder go away on its own?

    A: Dr. Swetha answers, “While mild symptoms may resolve with self-care, persistent or severe TMJ disorder requires professional treatment.”

    Q: How long does TMJ treatment take?

    A: Dr. Hepsiba explains, “The duration of treatment varies depending on the severity of the disorder and the chosen treatment approach. Some patients experience improvement within weeks, while others may need long-term management.”

    Q: Is TMJ disorder hereditary?

    A: Dr. Swetha clarifies, “While genetics may predispose individuals to TMJ disorder, other factors like trauma or lifestyle habits also contribute.”

    Q: Can TMJ disorder cause ear problems?

    A: Dr. Hepsiba confirms, “Yes, TMJ disorder may cause symptoms such as ear pain, tinnitus, or a feeling of fullness in the ears due to the close proximity of the TMJ to the ear canal.”

    Q: What is the best sleeping position for TMJ disorder?

    A: Dr. Swetha recommends, “Sleeping on your back with proper neck support is often recommended for individuals with TMJ disorder to minimize strain on the jaw joints and muscles.”


    TMJ Disorder Treatment at Platina Dental Clinic

    Platina Dental Clinic offers specialized care for TMJ disorder, with a team of experienced TMD dentists dedicated to diagnosing and treating temporomandibular joint disorders. Utilizing advanced diagnostic techniques and personalized treatment approaches like TENS Therapy and Occlusal Splints, our skilled practitioners work closely with patients to develop comprehensive treatment plans tailored to their unique needs and goals.

    At Platina Dental Clinic, we understand the complex nature of TMJ disorder and strive to provide compassionate care and effective solutions to help patients achieve lasting relief from TMJ-related symptoms and restore optimal jaw function. Whether you’re experiencing mild discomfort or debilitating pain associated with TMJ disorder, our expert team is here to support you every step of the way.

    For more information or to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced TMD dentists, please contact Platina Dental Clinic today. We look forward to helping you regain comfort, function, and confidence in your oral health and overall well-being.

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