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7 Myths About TMJ Disorders That’ll Blow Your Mind

Most people think temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) are pretty cut and dry. This is anything but true.

Here’s a quick look at some of the popular, jaw-dropping myths about TMJ pain (no pun intended) — and why treatment for any type of TMJ disorder is necessary.

Myth #1: All TMJ Disorders Are the Same

A TMJ disorder is a variable condition, with so many different causes, so many different symptoms, and so many different treatments. That said, there are actually many different types of TMJ disorders. That’s part of the reason why it’s important to try many different TMJ treatments: what works for others may not work for you, and vice versa.

Myth #2: You Have to Have Jaw Symptoms

Jaw-related symptoms like jaw sounds or jaw pain are among the most common TMJ disorder symptoms, but they’re not the only symptoms. People may experience headaches, neck pain, backaches, vertigo, and tinnitus among other symptoms. There may be jaw symptoms that aren’t noticed or were noticed but then went away (see below). If you have TMJ symptoms that aren’t responding to other treatment, consider TMJ treatment, whether you have jaw symptoms or not.

Myth #3: If My Jaw Stops Popping, My TMJ Is Better

Popping or clicking jaw is caused by the displacement of the cushioning disc in the temporomandibular joint. It starts out of place, but then it will pop into place, causing the noise.

When the noise stops, it’s because the jaw disc is no longer slipping back into its place in the joint. This can lead to additional damage to the bones in the joint and to locking of the jaw. If your jaw popping stops, take it as a bad sign and seek professional health.

Myth #4: Forcing a Locked Jaw Helps Treat TMJ Disorder

Many self-help sites recommend forcing your jaw closed if it locks open. This is not a good idea. It can be painful and dangerous, with the potential to cause irreparable harm.

Blindly forcing your jaw closed can dislocate it, damage the cushioning disc in the joint, grind bones against each other, or even break the jawbone.

Call our office if your jaw locks. As a trained TMJ dentist in Pasadena CA, I know how to maneuver the elements in the jaw so that it can close safely. We may be able to teach you how to successfully do this yourself without causing injury.

Myth #5: Only Women Get TMD

It’s true that more women than men seek  treatment for TMJ disorders, but some research suggests that many men also have TMJ disorders. They just don’t tend to get help.

In fact, the largest study on TMJ risk factors found that men and women develop a TMJ disorder at about the same rate. This means that many men may have TMJ but go un-diagnosed. This is not because they don’t have the symptoms, it’s because their doctors don’t recognize the condition.

Myth #6: You Only Develop TMD When You’re Young (or Old)

Another myth about TMJ disorders is that it only develops when you’re a teenager (maybe related to braces). Although it’s true that many people develop TMJ pain when they’re teens, it’s also true that TMJ disorders can develop at any time during your life. It can develop as a result of jaw trauma, a whiplash injury, arthritis, or as a result of malocclusion.

Myth #7: Surgery is the Only Treatment for TMJ Disorders

Many people think that the only way to treat TMD is with surgery. Surgery is used for advanced cases only! Here at Pasadena Pain Management, we use a number of dental technologies to treat TMJ pain — DTR for TMJ, T-Scan III,  and Joint Vibration Analysis… to name a few. To read more about each of these treatments, please click HERE.


Although there are many myths and misconceptions surrounding the TMJ, there’s one thing that’s no mistake: TMJ treatment works. Many people are able to experience relief from symptoms: jaw pain, headaches, tinnitus, and more can be reduced or eliminated.

If you are living in Southern California and are tired of living with chronic pain from headaches, migraines, or a TMJ disorder, contact Pasadena Pain Management for a FREE consultation.

Let us help you start living PAIN FREE again.

About Pasadena Pain Management

Pasadena Pain Management offers pain management treatment for TMJ/TMD, migraine, headaches and neck pain in Pasadena, CA. Our office is conveniently located with extended hours to meet your needs. At Pasadena Pain Management, we offer the exclusive TruDenta treatment therapy — a highly specialized form of care that involves cutting-edge dental technology, without needles or injections. Patient satisfaction is our top priority and we strive to provide the exceptional, affordable pain management care and personal touch that lead to lasting relationships. A smiling patient is our greatest reward and we look forward to keeping our patients happy and pain free.