Joseph H. Lohner, DDS, MS, PA

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Vernon, NJ Office
651 County Road 517
Sparta, NJ Office
21 Lafayette Road
TMJ-TMD - Vernon Sparta NJ | Joseph H Lohner DDS MS PA


Temporomandibular Disorder

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic facial and neck pain as well as recurrent headaches. In some cases this pain is due to Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD.

Your temporomandibular joints, or jaw joints, connect your lower jawbone to your skull. As you may imagine, these joints get quite a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement.

Symptoms of TMD include:

  • Pain in the jaw area
  • Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
  • Frequent headaches or neck aches
  • Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
  • Swelling on the sides of the face
  • Muscle spasms in the jaw area
  • A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
  • Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth

Should you notice any of these symptoms, let us know! We can help advise you as to whether they indicate the presence of TMD, and what sort of treatment is appropriate for you.

If you don't have any of these symptoms, let's keep it that way! There are some simple things you can do at home or work to prevent TMD from occurring in your jaw joints:

  • Relax your face - remember the rule: "Lips together, teeth apart"
  • Avoid grinding your teeth
  • Avoid constant gum chewing
  • Don't cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder - either use a headset or hold the receiver to your ear
  • Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
  • Do not sit with your chin rested on your hand
  • Practice good posture - keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders squared

Temporomandibular joint disorders (jaw joint problems) can be treated but not totally cured, in Dr. Lohner's opinion. If you have a problem with your TM joints, you may always have it (like a bad back, trick knee, fibromyalgia, etc.) but hopefully treatment will diminish the occurrence and severity of the TM disorder. TM disorders tend to occur twice as often in females as males, so, hormones may play a role. Success in treatment for TM disorders is dependent on your daily control of your TMJ problem.

  1. Soft diet
    • During acute periods of pain, a soft diet may prove helpful (milkshakes, soups, jello, eggs, pasta, etc.)
    • When symptoms begin to subside, more textured foods may be attempted but only small bite-size pieces. Cut the food up and don't tear it with your front teeth. You do not want to open your mouth wider than necessary.
    • Avoid all hard and chewy foods (bagels, tough meat, raw veggies, etc.)
  2. Moist heat and cold compresses
    • Apply a washcloth wrung out in warm (not hot) water to the joint area for approximately 20 minutes, 2 to 4 times a day.
    • Alternate with a cold pack to the area for approximately 15 minutes (if pain worsens, discontinue the cold pack.)
  3. Deep breathing relaxation
    • Place tongue behind front teeth and swallow, this separates the teeth.
    • Breathe deeply in through nose and out through mouth to the count of 10.
    • These exercises are good to do in the shower, as the warm water relaxes the facial and chewing muscles.
    • Envision stress leaving your body as you exhale.
  4. Posture - Military Style
    • Head up
    • Shoulders back
    • Chest out
    • No slumping or fetal posture
    • Try to sleep on your back, not your stomach.
  5. Vitamins
    • Calcium and magnesium
    • B-complex vitamins and Folic Acid
    • Euphytose - antispasm herb (not to be combined with other supplements or painkillers.) Do not use this herb if you are allergic to it.
  6. Separate the teeth
    • Clenching and grinding teeth need to be eliminated.
    • Practice keeping lips together, teeth apart.
    • Avoid oral habits like biting on pens, fingernails, chewing gum, etc.
    • Wear mouthguard or splint while sleeping or during stressful times.
  7. Ibuprofen
    Dose as recommended on packaging by weight (with food if needed) - discontinue when pain stops. Do not use this medication if you are allergic to it.
  8. Try to relax. Most TMJ problems are due to stress.

This information is not intended to replace the services of a dentist or physician, nor does it constitute a doctor-patient relationship. Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional dental or medical advice.

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