Our Dental Blog

Posts for tag: TMD

By Carol A. Cunningham, DDS
March 04, 2022
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: tmj   TMD  

Are you dealing with a TMJ disorder? Find out how to alleviate your discomfort.

Everything from dental misalignments to stress can lead someone to deal with an uncomfortable and common jaw problem known as a TMJ disorder. TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint, which are joints found on both sides of the face that connect the jawbone to the skull. These joints are responsible for all jaw movements, from speaking to chewing. From the office of your Gentle Art of Dentistry dentist, Dr. Carol Cunningham and Dr. Daniel Jurgens, learn more about TMJ-related jaw pain and how you can reduce symptoms in Decatur, IL.

Is my jaw pain due to a TMJ disorder?

So, how do you know what’s causing your jaw pain? This is where our services come in. If the pain is severe enough or persistent, then you may want to play it safe and schedule a consultation with us. If you do have a TMJ disorder, symptoms may include:

  • Aching jaw pain
  • Jaw pain that gets worse when speaking, chewing, or biting
  • Jaws that are tender to the touch
  • A clicking or popping sound when opening your jaws
  • Jaws joints that lock up when opening or closing your mouth
  • Limited mobility of the jaw joints

You may also feel like your jaws get tired more easily, especially when chewing. Of course, there are some people who have a TMJ disorder but don’t experience pain or other issues. 

How do you treat jaw pain?

Medications, certain therapies, and lifestyle modifications may be recommended to help reduce jaw joint pain, stiffness, and limited range of motion. Some people find success by eating softer foods and avoiding bad habits like chewing their nails. Even avoiding bubble gum can help!

Common medications include muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories, to reduce both pain and swelling. You can also apply moist heat or a wrapped ice pack to the area when pain is exacerbated.

If your TMJ disorder is due to a tooth and jaw misalignment, orthodontic treatment may be recommended to correct the problem. If your TMJ disorder is due to teeth grinding or stress, our dentist can create a custom night guard to protect your teeth while you sleep. Sometimes counseling or finding outlets to alleviate your stress can also reduce your symptoms.

If you are dealing with severe or chronic jaw pain, it’s important that you turn to Dr. Carol Cunningham and Dr. Daniel Jurgens at Gentle Art of Dentistry in Decatur, IL, for an immediate evaluation. The sooner you seek care the sooner you’ll be on the road to recovery. Call our office today to find out how we can help get rid of your TMJ disorder pain, at 217-422-7448.

By Carol A. Cunningham, DDS
November 08, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tmj   TMD  

Jaw muscle pain and tightness can be very uncomfortable. If you experience such issues near your ear or jaw, you should seek treatment for TMD/TMJ in Decatur, IL. At Gentle Art of Dentistry, Dr. Carol Cunningham and Dr. Daniel Jurgens can help diagnose and treat this uncomfortable jaw muscle issue.

What is TMD/TMJ?

TMD/TMJ refers to ongoing pain in the area near the ear, jaw, or muscles on the side of your face. TMD is short for Temporomandibular disorders, but sometimes people incorrectly use the abbreviation TMJ. TMJ is short for the temporomandibular joint, which is the name of the jaw joint.

What Are Common Signs of TMD and TMJ?

You probably have TMD if you experience the following symptoms such as muscle pain in the cheeks or temples, clicking sounds when opening and closing the mouth, and jaw joint pain. The clicking sound is not automatically a sign of TMD. If it is accompanied by pain or limited function, then you most likely have TMD.

Muscle pain in your jaw when closing your mouth may be a result of jaw clenching and teeth grinding at night. Sleeping with a nightguard is very helpful in this situation. Based on X-rays, it is possible to have signs of arthritis in the jaw without the pain associated with TMD.

If you have signs of TMD/TMJ in Decatur, IL, your dentists can help develop a plan to manage the pain and possibly treat it. Home remedies include reducing jaw stress by eating softer foods or using ice or heat compression on the painful area. We may also prescribe anti-inflammatory medication in some cases. In severe cases, we may have to recommend orthodontic treatment.
Instead of suffering through jaw pain, contact your dentists for help. Visit us at Gentle Art of Dentistry for TMD/TMJ treatment in Decatur, IL. Dr. Cunningham and Dr. Jurgens will use their professional expertise to help you manage this often painful jaw joint condition. Call us at (217) 422-7448 for an appointment today.

By Carol A. Cunningham, DDS
November 24, 2020
Category: Oral Health

Your temporomandibular joint connects your lower jaw to the rest of your skull. You may not be aware of how dependent you are on its normal function until pain or discomfort make difficult work of usually simple tasks. Dr. Carol Cunningham of Gentle Art of Dentistry in Decatur, IL, can help you become better informed on TMD.


The abbreviation TMD refers to the disorder that affects the normal movement of your temporomandibular joint.

Common symptoms include an audible clicking or popping sound from your jaw, as well as pain at the joint that may expand onto surrounding areas. In some cases, it can cause your jaw to shift, and your teeth to misalign.

To diagnose, your doctor will check for the above symptoms, and order imaging tests to further examine your ailment.

Common Causes

Several factors can be to blame for TMD, though determining the exact one may be difficult:

  • If you've recently been injured that would be an easy enough cause to spot.
  • Other causes include arthritis, grinding or clenching, orthodontic braces, and bone defects at birth.
  • Lack of sleep, poor diet, and stress has also been linked to the disorder.


Your doctor may recommend medication for inflammation and plain, as well as to relax the muscles supporting your jaw.

Bite guards can prevent grinding and in rare cases, surgery may be necessary. Such as corrective dental treatment to realign your teeth and improve your bite.

Only by contacting your doctor can you find out what's best for you.

At home, you can help by reducing stress on your jaw. You can do so by avoiding foods that are hard to chew, avoid gum in general, and use ice to minimize swelling.

TMD Treatment in Decatur, IL

If the symptoms sound familiar it's best to contact Dr. Carol Cunningham of Gentle Art of Dentistry today. Dial (217) 422-7448 in Decatur, IL, to make an appointment.