If you struggle with chronic jaw pain, headaches, or pain when chewing, you may have TMJ. Gary Chapman, DDS, is an experienced orthodontist who has been treating TMJ since graduating from dental school. At ChapmanSmiles Orthodontics in Happy Valley, Oregon, Dr. Chapman uses a variety of orthodontic devices to treat TMJ pain in patients of all ages. To learn more, call or schedule an appointment online now.

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What is TMJ pain?

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), refers to conditions that affect the hinge-like joint that connects your lower jaw to your skull. Between the bones of your temporomandibular joint lies a disc that helps you open and close your mouth comfortably.

Any damage to the temporomandibular joint or the muscles and ligaments surrounding it can cause TMJ pain.

What are the symptoms of TMJ pain?

Your dentist can typically detect TMJ through imaging scans, such as X-rays. Pressure and strain on the temporomandibular joints can also cause symptoms such as:

  • Difficulty chewing
  • Facial pain
  • Earaches
  • Locked jaw
  • Inability to fully open your mouth
  • Swollen jaw
  • Tenderness near temporomandibular joints

TMJ pain can negatively impact your quality of life. If you have chronic pain, you may also experience poor sleep quality, difficulty concentrating at school or work, or even weight loss from pain when chewing.

What causes TMJ pain?

Many conditions that affect your temporomandibular joints can lead to TMJ pain, such as:

  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Misaligned bite
  • Crooked teeth
  • Joint damage
  • Chronic jaw clenching
  • Damage to the discs in the temporomandibular joints
  • Arthritis

Arthritis is a chronic condition that causes joint inflammation. Osteoarthritis, the most common type, gradually damages the flexible cartilage surrounding your joints. While arthritis is most common in the joints in the hands, feet, neck, back, and hips, it can also damage your temporomandibular joints.

What are the treatments for TMJ pain?

Once Dr. Chapman determines the root cause of your TMJ pain, he creates a personalized treatment plan to relieve pressure and tension in your temporomandibular joints. Common orthodontic treatments for TMJ pain include:


A misaligned bite or teeth can strain the joints in your jaw. Braces consist of metal brackets and wires that gently shift your teeth into the correct position. Once your teeth and bite are in proper alignment, your temporomandibular joints can function properly and relieve your pain.

Clear aligners

If you’re not interested in traditional braces, clear aligners are a more discreet and comfortable orthodontic option. Much like braces, clear aligners gradually pull your teeth and jaws into alignment.

Clear aligners are translucent, removable, and easy to clean. Dr. Chapman offers Invisalign® and Spark™ clear aligners at his office.

Custom mouth guard

A custom-made mouth guard relieves pressure from your temporomandibular joints and protects your teeth from grinding against one another.

Dr. Chapman takes digital impressions of your mouth to create your mouth guard, so it feels comfortable and easy to wear.

To learn more about treating TMJ pain, call ChapmanSmiles Orthodontics or schedule an appointment online now.