A temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a musculoskeletal problem, which occurs as a result of injury or imbalance of the jaw joints, jaw muscles or teeth. Contributing factors to TMD include jaw postural imbalances, abnormal bite (malocclusion), abnormal joint function, and trauma or illness such as arthritis.

TMD is not just one disorder, but a group of conditions that painfully affect the TMJ and the muscles that open and close the mouth. The American Dental Association estimates that 10-14 million Americans have TMJ disorders; 80% of these are women between 24-50 years of age.


Common symptoms of TMD are noises and/or pain in the area around the ear and temple. Pain complaints may involve the chewing muscles, supporting ligaments, the jaw joints, the jaws or even the teeth. Other related signs and symptoms may include: headache, neck ache, ear pain, jaw fatigue, facial pain, dizziness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and eye pain.

Critical functions of chewing, swallowing, speaking and even breathing can involve the jaw joints and jaw muscles. In severe cases of TMD, the jaw can actually lock open or close compromising these functions.


Using state of the art technology, Dr. Matiasevich will be able to give you a definitive diagnosis of your problem and the appropriate treatment. Diagnosis is the key to successfully treating your jaw joint, head, neck and facial pain.

Treatment of TMD is focused on correcting skeletal asymmetries to stabilize the injured parts of the body and then using physical therapy to rehabilitate those structures. Treatment is generally broken into two phases:

Phase I

The purpose of this phase is to reduce muscle spasms, TMJ swelling and dislocation if possible and generally to reduce pain. In addition, Phase I therapy should try and restore normal range of motion (opening and closing of the jaw).

Treatment modalities may include the use of intra-oral splints or orthotics, exercises, medications, injections of local anesthetic, physical therapy, massage therapy, and chiropractic treatment.

Phase II

The purpose of Phase II therapy is to correct the discrepancies between the upper and lower jaws. Treatment modalities include occlusal (bite) adjustments, orthodontics, orthopedics, reconstruction of the teeth (crown, bridge and implants), prosthetic dentistry including overlay partials, complete dentures, partial dentures, surgery or a combination of the above.

*For more information go to the American Academy of Craniofacial Pain at www.aacfp.org.


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TMD, or Temporomandibular Disorders, is an umbrella term for various painful conditions that affect the jaw joints. There are different treatment approaches to TMD problems, but not all are based on science. It’s important to be up on the latest information and to be an educated consumer. In this comprehensive article, we provide state-of-the-art information, and guidance on what you should know, whom you should see, and what you should ask.

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