Dr. Thomas Duffy DDS. Peninsula Family Dentistry. Dental Implants, Dental Emergencies, General, Cosmetic, Restorative, Preventative, Pediatric, Family Dentistry. Dentist in Gig Harbor WA 98335

TMJ Disorders

Do you wonder whether you have a TMJ disorder in Gig Harbor? The TMJ is your temporomandibular joint, the joint, and muscles connecting your jaw to the rest of your skull. It allows you to open and close your mouth, bite, chew, and make other movements without usually thinking about it.  Unfortunately, the term “TMJ” is as common in a dental office as BLT is in a sandwich shop—but not in a good way—until we get you feeling better.


Common symptoms of TMJ disorders:

  • Jaw pain, with clicking or popping
  • Ear pain or popping
  • Headaches and pain in your temples
  • Locking of your jaw
  • Dizziness

Causes of TMJ disorders:

  • Stress and teeth grinding (when awake or asleep)
  • Injury and/or dislocation
  • Arthritis 
  • Jaw and joint problems and tooth alignment from birth

Dr. Duffy and his team are available to review your symptoms with you and help you determine which care plan(s) are best for you. Many patients feel better wearing a custom-made mouthguard at night which cushions your teeth and reduces the stress from grinding or clamping your teeth when asleep and helps train your muscles in a new neutral position. He may also give you some exercises to help reduce your symptoms.

Home care can ease your discomfort:

  • Practice relaxation techniques for your jaw
  • Eat softer foods
  • Avoid biting your nails and chewing gum 
  • Use warm heat packs to reduce pain
  • Use over-the-counter pain and inflammation-reducing products on a temporary basis until you can get in for an appointment. 

Let’s get to the cause of your discomfort!

Whether at your hygiene appointment or a specific consultation, Dr. Duffy is happy to meet with you and learn more about your condition. He will perform a comprehensive exam of your mouth and jaw, any necessary imaging, and see how your teeth and jaw perform. Treatment options often vary due to the cause and severity of each person’s symptoms, jaw structure, and other considerations. Treatment often ranges from a combination of home exercises and/or physical therapy and the use of a mouth guard to being referred to an orthodontist, oral medicine, or other specialist.

If you think you have a TMJ disorder in Gig Harbor, call our office today to schedule a consultation. Let’s get your jaw feeling better.