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What is TMJ?

TMJ (also called TMD) stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. The temporomandibular joint is the hinging joint that connects your jaw to your skull. This important joint allows you to talk, laugh, eat, and, essentially, live your life. When this joint is out of place, you can't perform your activities of daily living. Instead of enjoying your meals, the pain associated with TMJ can make you avoid eating your favorite foods.

During TMJ, your jaw joints disconnect, lock, or unhinge. Though we can't always trace how it occurs, we do know how to treat it when it does. If you experience constant pain or discomfort in your head or jaw, you might be showing signs of TMJ. Instead of ignoring your pain, it's time to seek professional treatment options. When you visit us at Marlen Elite Dental Wellness, you can speak with a TMJ specialist about your symptoms. During your first consultation, we'll determine if you experience TMJ or if your headaches stem from something else. If you have TMD, we want to help you treat your pain and discomfort with our River Edge TMJ treatment. To schedule a consultation with a TMJ specialist, schedule a consultation with us by calling (201) 546-8512.

river edge TMJ treatment patient model undergoing examination with muscle censor

A Neuromuscular Approach

Your jaw is a complex system that must work together in harmony for proper function. When it doesn't work together smoothly, it usually results in temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). Neuromuscular dentistry looks at how your jaw system works together and identifies problems that cause the dysfunction.

With a neuromuscular approach to TMJ treatment, we aim to prevent and correct problems that interfere with your jaw's harmony. We also use this approach when placing restorations or any type of reconstructive dentistry to ensure the jaw system always works correctly without causing TMJ problems.

Causes of TMJ

It is often difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of an individual's TMJ disorder. Genetics, arthritis, stress and injuries often play a role. People who clench or grind their teeth (bruxism) may be at elevated risk.

Jaw, facial and neck muscle strain or overuse often contribute to development of this disorder as well. The temporomandibular joint allows your jaw to move with a "hinging" motion and a "sliding" motion. A small shock-absorbing disk normally keeps these movements smooth. Painful TMJ disorders can result if the disk erodes or becomes misaligned. Additionally, certain connective tissue diseases may trigger TMJ.

When to See a Doctor

In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ is temporary and can be self-managed. But you should seek medical attention from a doctor or dentist if you can't open or close your jaw completely.

Additionally, you should see a doctor if your pain:

  • Is severe
  • Interferes with eating or speaking
  • Wakes you up at night
  • Persists for more than a week despite home treatment
  • Is accompanied by dizziness, earache, headache, neck pain, or shoulder pain
  • Appears to be getting worse


During your evaluation, your doctor will likely ask about your symptoms and medical history. They will also want to know about any past injuries or surgeries to your head, neck, or jaw. Additionally, your doctor may ask about your stress levels and whether you have any bruxism habits (teeth grinding or clenching).

Next, your doctor will perform a physical examination of your head, neck, and jaw. They may also palpate (feel) around your TMJ to check for any tenderness or clicking.

Your doctor or dentist will conduct an exam, review your health history and check the condition of your bite and facial muscles. Diagnoses are often confirmed with X-rays, MRI examination or a CT scan. Seeking proper dental care for missing teeth or damaged crowns and bridges may go a long way toward eliminating TMJ!

TMJ Treatment Costs

Costs will depend on the extent of your treatment. Discuss costs during your initial consultation, and ask about any available payment options.

TMJ treatment costs are going to look different for each person. For example, one patient may have excessive worn-down teeth and a misaligned bite that is going to need bite correction with other treatments. This will be a different cost than someone who only needs to use an appliance at night. Another patient may need basic TMJ treatment. Also, if a patient has sleep apnea, they may need a CPAP alternative.

TMJ symptoms

The most recognizable symptom of TMJ is jaw pain. However, other symptoms are common and present themselves in multiple ways. Another common symptom is a tension headache due to jaw tightness.

There are many different symptoms that could potentially signal a need for a TMJ test. Some common ones include:

  • Jaw pain or tenderness
  • Jaw clicking or popping when opening or closing the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Pain in the face, neck, shoulders, or ear
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Headaches and migraines

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it's important to see a TMJ specialist for a proper diagnosis. TMJ disorders are often caused by stress or other factors that can be treated fairly easily. However, if left untreated, they can lead to more serious problems down the road.

river edge TMJ treatment patient model in a suit smiling broadly

What Issues Can Undiagnosed TMJ Cause?

If you think you may have a TMJ disorder, it's important to seek treatment as soon as possible. If left untreated, TMJ disorders can lead to a number of serious problems, including:

  • Pain and discomfort in the jaw, face, neck, and shoulders
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • Ear pain or ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Limited mouth opening
  • Misaligned bite
  • Chipped teeth
  • Cracked teeth
  • Teeth clenching
  • Teeth grinding
  • Worn-down teeth
  • Sleep apnea

In some cases, untreated TMJ disorders can even cause permanent damage to the teeth or jaw. Therefore, if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, it's important to see a doctor or a dentist who specializes in TMJ disorders for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

Additional Reading

Oftentimes, patients don't realize that they have worn down teeth because it happens over time. However, when our patients have TMJ, they often grind their teeth. When you grind your teeth, you are slowly wearing down your teeth, night after night. In other words, your bite becomes less durable. Also, grinding your teeth makes you more susceptible to cavities and dental decay.

Many TMJ patients report clicking, popping or grating sounds coming from their jaws. TMJ can make it difficult to open your mouth wide, and in some cases produce facial swelling. Additional symptoms can include dizziness, earaches, ringing in the ears (known as tinnitus) and, in a few cases, numbness in your fingers or arms.

Specialized TMJ Treatment at Marlen Elite Dental Wellness Relieves Your Pain.

When we treat TMJ, we use an advanced dental method called TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation). If you've never heard of TENS, it's similar to a massage with electrical currents. This treatment method relaxes your jaw muscles and relieves your natural muscle habits. Therefore, TENS relinquishes your jaw and releases habits such as unnecessary muscle clenching. Additionally, electric currents release endorphins, which naturally allow for pain release. TENS can be applied either at your dentist's office or at home.

Once your jaw muscles have relaxed, we can then determine your jaw's ideal relaxed position using electromyography (EMG), which measures the electrical activity in your muscles. After TENS treatment, we can treat your TMJ with a clean slate. Sometimes, your jaw does well with routine TENS treatment. In other cases, we recommend an oral appliance to make sure your jaw remains in a restful position while you sleep. Correcting a misaligned bite can reduce muscle tension and damage to your teeth. At Marlen Elite Dental Wellness, we take a "big picture" approach to TMJ treatment.

TMJ can often be a chronic, systemic disorder that involves your nerves, muscles and other soft tissues. TMJ often takes years to develop and tends to worsen with age. But we have developed effective, reliable and predictable techniques that can give you long-term relief, even when other medical or dental treatments have failed. Our team will develop an integrated and customized plan to elevate your health and wellness. We will outline your options so that you can make educated and informed decisions to address your specific needs.

Patient Testimonial

river edge TMJ treatment specialist Dr. Marlen Martirossian

Your TMJ Specialist in River Edge, NJ

If you experience frequent headaches, jaw pain, or neck pain, and think you may be a good candidate for TMJ treatment River Edge dentist, Dr. Marlen Martirossian, can answer any questions you have and address your concerns during an initial consultation. We will also go over how to help manage your TMJ symptoms, and take the time to understand exactly what is causing your pain.

At Marlen Elite Dental Wellness, we believe in providing professional and personal treatment "from consultation through transformation." Patient appointments are scheduled one at a time, ensuring you'll get our undivided attention. Marlen Elite Dental Wellness is led by River Edge dentist, Dr. Marlen Martirossian, who earned his DDS at New York University and is an active member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. The Consumer Research Council of has regularly recognized Dr. Martirossian as one of the country's top dentists. Instead of avoiding your pain, schedule a consultation with Dr. Martirossian by calling us at (201) 546-8512.

Book Your Consultation at Marlen Elite Dental Wellness Today

Take the first and most important step toward your best smile. The sooner you begin the process of designing your ideal smile with Dr. Marlen Martirossian, the sooner you will achieve results that you will love for years into the future. Contact us today to schedule your consultation for elite dental results at Marlen Elite Dental Wellness in New Jersey. We are conveniently located in River Edge, New Jersey, and serve patients throughout the state seeking the very best cosmetic dentistry New Jersey has to offer.

130 Kinderkamack Rd, Suite 306, River Edge, New Jersey 07661

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