(708) 383-0330

Do you find yourself experiencing jaw popping, pain, and stiffness? If so, you’re not alone. These symptoms commonly indicate a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ. Luckily, simple general dentistry treatments exist to manage this uncomfortable condition.

Are you living with jaw popping, pain, and stiffness? In many cases, these symptoms will not go away on their own. Indeed, the best way to fight TMJ pain is with Dr. Thomas W. Wegner at Town & Country Dental in Oak Park, IL. Get relief today by calling (708) 383-0330 now.

TMJ can seriously impact your quality of life, but understanding its causes and seeking appropriate treatment can bring relief and improve your overall well-being. So, today, let’s explore what TMJ is and what you can do about it

What is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) functions like a sliding hinge, connecting your mandible (lower jawbone) to the temporal bones (sides) of your skull. It allows you to do any activity requiring you to open and close your mouth, like chewing, speaking, and yawning

When this joint becomes inflamed or damaged, it can lead to TMJ disorder, causing jaw popping, pain, and stiffness.

Causes of TMJ

The cause of TMJ can be hard to pinpoint, as it may be caused by various factors, including:

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Clenching or mashing your teeth together, especially during sleep, can put hundreds of pounds of pressure on the TMJ, leading to inflammation and discomfort.

Jaw Misalignment

Improper dental and jaw alignment can strain the TMJ. The result is pain and stiffness over time.


Emotional or psychological stress can cause unintended muscle tension in the jaw. This means that even minimal stress can worsen TMJ symptoms, such as jaw popping, pain, and stiffness.


Conditions like rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis can affect the TMJ. These conditions often lead to further inflammation and discomfort in the jaw.

Other Symptoms of TMJ

In addition to jaw popping, pain, and stiffness, TMJ may present with other symptoms, including:

  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Aching pain around the ears
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Clicking or grating sensation when opening or closing the mouth
  • Locking of the jaw joint, making it difficult to open or close the mouth fully

Treatment Options

Fortunately, there are various treatment options available to alleviate TMJ symptoms and improve jaw function, including:

Lifestyle Modifications 

Practicing stress-reduction techniques (such as breathing exercises, meditation, or yoga) can help alleviate muscle tension in the jaw. 

Avoiding hard or chewy foods and practicing good posture can also reduce TMJ discomfort.

Night Guards

If teeth clenching is contributing to your TMJ symptoms, Dr. Wegner may recommend wearing a personalized night guard while sleeping to protect your teeth and relieve pressure on the TMJ.

Physical Therapy

Specific exercises and stretches can help strengthen the jaw muscles and improve joint mobility, reducing jaw popping, pain, and stiffness.


Over-the-counter pain reducers (such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen) can help alleviate TMJ-related discomfort. In some cases, muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory medications may be prescribed.

Dental Procedures

In severe cases of TMJ, dental treatments such as orthodontic adjustments or dental splints may be necessary to correct bite misalignment and relieve pressure on the TMJ.

TMJ Treatment in Oak Park, IL

If you’re experiencing jaw popping, pain, and stiffness, it’s time to contact Dr. Wegner at Town & Country Dental. Contact our Oak Park dental office online or call (708) 383-0330 for scheduling, information, and more.