TMJ Disorder Treatment

Our process at Nourish Dental & TMJ Care, Singapore

How We Diagnose & Manage TMJ Disorders at Our Clinic

Clinical Examination & Consultation

In order to give a proper diagnosis, Dr. Eric Chionh typically start the consultation with a clinical examination. Questions may include information about your medical history, medications you may be taking, recent injuries, and other health conditions. He will also examine your jaw, its range of motion, and check for any abnormalities within the orofacial region.

If a closer look is needed, an x-ray, MRI or CT scan may be taken as well. Apart from your jaw, he will also examine your face, neck, ears, mouth and throat.

The first consultation lasts an average of 1 – 1.5 hours.

Diagnosis, Management & Treatment

After the clinical examination, Dr. Chionh will be able to propose a TMJ disorder treatment plan that is suitable for the individual patient.

TMJ treatment may involve the following, depending on the cause, severity, and the patient’s lifestyle and needs:

Recognising Other Pain Issues

It is important to note that some of the symptoms for TMJ disorders overlap with other pain conditions such as Trigeminal Neuralgia or migraines.

It is not recommended that you self-diagnose. Every patient, their anatomy, affected areas and lifestyles can vary widely. Thus, your TMJ disorder treatment and management plan will differ from that of another patient’s.

*Disclaimer: Oral Medicine is officially recognised as the 11th dental speciality by the American Dental Association (ADA), and Orofacial Pain as the 12th. Any reference to ‘specialisation’ on this page is made in the context of the United States of America. Please read our Disclaimers and FAQ pages for more information.

Your quality of life matters

When to Seek Help from a TMJ Specialist

You should seek help from a trained orofacial pain specialist / TMJ specialist if your quality of life has been affected. There is no need to live with unnecessary pain or worry. Get a proper diagnosis and work with a good healthcare team, so that you can live your best life possible.

Those who have autoimmune disorders that affect the joints or who suffer from arthritis conditions should also get checked, if they experience any orofacial pain. It is critical to prevent further damage, rather than fix the problem in desperation later on. You are already coping with enough or too much pain on a daily basis.

To conclude, seek help and a proper diagnosis from a reliable doctor who cares, if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms listed below. Remember that TMJ disorders can also cause facial pain, and affect any part of the face, ears, neck, mouth and/or jaw.

When to Seek TMJ Disorder Treatment

Causes & Demographics

The What, Why & How of TMJ Disorders

The What, Why & How of TMJ Disorders - Causes and Demographics

What Are TMJ Disorders And How Do They Develop?​

TMJ disorders or ‘TMD’ stands for Temporomandibular Joint Disorders, a painful condition which causes facial pain. The pain can be acute or chronic, and occur not only in your jaws or mouth, but also head, neck, and even ears. Whilst the root cause of TMD is yet unknown, there are a few triggers that are often stress related.

Whilst TMJ disorders can affect anyone regardless of age or gender, it is more common in adults between 20 – 40 years of age (Maini, K. & Dua, A., 2022). It also affects women more than men. It is also estimated that more than 30 percent of adults will suffer from it at some point in their lives.

Triggers & Signs of TMJ Pain

Here are some common triggers and signs of TMJ disorder pain, although there can be other causes too:

  • Habitual grinding or clenching of teeth
  • Arthritis (Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, etc)
  • Other inflammatory and musculoskeletal disorders
  • Jaw injuries or trauma
  • Poorly positioned teeth
  • Poor posture (especially in the neck and upper back areas)
  • People who have a genetic disposition to pain and/or stress sensitivities
  • Orthodontic braces
  • Excessive gum chewing

The problem with TMJ disorders

Pain from TMJ Disorders

Pain from TMJ Disorders

Common TMJ Disorder Symptoms

The most typical symptom of TMJ disorders is a locked jaw, where you can’t open your mouth fully due to pain or muscle spasms. These symptoms usually worsen when you chew hard foods, or try to open your mouth wide.

Other signs of TMJ disorders to watch out for are:

You can read a case study of TMJ locked jaw which we treated at our clinic here.

Other Parts Of The Body That TMJ Disorders Can Affect

You may be surprised, but TMJ disorders can also cause ear pain (otalgia), tinnitus (ringing in the ears), hearing loss, swelling, inflammation and other ear related problems.

Whilst the patient may feel pain the ear, often this has nothing to do with the ear itself should the cause stem from a TMJ dysfunction. In fact, up to almost 80% of TMD patients report having pain or problems in their ears (Tuz, H. H. et al., 2003).

The middle ear is anatomically linked to the TMJ (temporomandibular joint), and there are also many nerves in the surrounding area as well. This may amplify the pain, or complicate diagnosis.

Seeing a trained orofacial pain specialist is important for proper diagnosis, in order to manage and treat the TMJ disorder effectively. Our clinic is equipped with otoscopic (ear scope) facilities for a comprehensive ear check-up.

You can read a case study of TMJ-related Tinnitus which we treated at our clinic here.

Common questions & answers

TMJ Disorder Treatment FAQs

Your primary care physician, ENT (ear, nose & throat) doctor, dentist, pain or TMJ doctor can give a diagnosis for TMJ disorder.

But what’s important is the follow-up care, especially for long term and severe TMJ disorders.

Orofacial pain specialists in particular are trained to diagnose, manage and treat patients with different types of orofacial pain, including TMJ disorders.

There are over 30 types of TMJ disorders, and they can be classified into three main groups:

  1. Disorders of the joints (including disc disorders). This can result in conditions such as a Locked Jaw (Closed Lock) or TMJ Jaw Dislocation (Open Lock).
  2. Disorders of the masticatory muscles, which are used for chewing.
  3. Headaches associated with TMJ disorders.

This is just a general overview. Further investigation needs to be done by a trained orofacial pain specialist / TMJ doctor, in order to diagnose and treat the root cause of the TMJ disorder.

According to the American Academy of Orofacial Pain (AAOP):

Orofacial Pain (OFP) is the specialty of dentistry that encompasses the diagnosis, management and treatment of pain disorders of the jaw, mouth, face, head and neck. The specialty of OFP is dedicated to the evidenced-based understanding of the underlying pathophysiology, etiology, prevention, and treatment of these disorders and improving access to interdisciplinary patient care.

An Orofacial Pain specialist needs to undergo additional training on top of general dentistry, in order to become a TMJ specialist. After passing many rigorous examinations to earn their accreditation, the Orofacial Pain specialist has more in-depth knowledge of pharmacology, and oral medicine as well.

Orofacial pain specialists are trained to diagnose, manage and treat TMJ disoders, as well other head, neck and jaw dysfunctions. They are also aware of how comorbidities can contribute to TMJ disorders and adjust the treatment plan accordingly.

Dr. Erich Chionh of Nourish Dental & TMJ Care, Singapore is a Diplomate in the American Board of Orofacial Pain, a Fellow in the American Academy of Orofacial Pain (AAOP), and is also a Recognised Specialist in Orofacial Pain/TMD under the American Board of Dental Specialties (ABDS) & American Dental Association (ADA). Visit our About Page for Dr. Chionh’s full list of credentials.

Read more about how an Orofacial Medicine and Orofacial Pain specialist can help with TMJ disorder treatment on our blog.

The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is a ball-and-socket joint, like the ones in your hips or shoulders. It is found within our jaw, which is one of the most used joints within our bodies. It would be impossible to talk, chew or swallow without it.

Our focus at Nourish Dental & TMJ Care, Singapore

How Nourish Dental & TMJ Care, Singapore, Can Help with TMJ Disorder Treatment

Dr. Eric Chionh of Nourish Dental & TMJ Care, Singapore, has over 20 years of experience in the diagnosis and treatment of orofacial pain which includes TMJ disorders, and also pain and sleep dentistry. He is formally trained in Oral Medicine and Orofacial Pain, and holds a Singapore Dental Council approved qualification in these areas.

His many years of hands-on, practical experience has led to a solid repository of knowledge, and he is passionate about keeping himself updated with the scientific research. His mission is to help improve his patients’ quality of life, and to help manage their pain with the right treatments.

You can learn more about Dr. Eric Chionh on our About Page. You can also visit Our Services page to view all other dental and pain management services we provide at our clinic.

Real patients we have seen at our clinic in Singapore

View Our Case Studies for TMJ Disorder Treatment

Testimonials and reviews

What Our Clients Say

What Our Clients Say