Diagnosing TMJ: What to Expect


The TMJ Diagnosis Process

Welcome to your guide on diagnosing TMJ, brought to you by our caring team at The Orthospaceship. Understanding the journey to a TMJ diagnosis can often feel overwhelming. We’re here to shed light on this process, ensuring you know exactly what to expect.


Transparent illustration of a lower jaw and temporomandibular joint

What Are TMJ Disorders?

TMJ disorders are more than just a medical term; they affect real people with symptoms ranging from mild jaw discomfort to severe pain. These disorders involve issues with your temporomandibular joint – that critical hinge connecting your jawbone to your skull. Our approach to these disorders begins with understanding the symptoms, which can include anything from jaw pain and facial tenderness to more surprising symptoms such as ear ringing and arm tingling.

At the OrthoSpaceship we specialize in non-invasive methods of treating TMJ disorders.



An orthodontist reviewing an x-ray of patient with TMJ disorder

How is TMJ Diagnosed?

So, how do we pinpoint TMJ disorders? It starts with a conversation. We listen to your experiences with symptoms like jaw pain, ear discomfort, and any challenges with jaw movement. This discussion is followed by a comprehensive physical examination, where we systematically examine all muscles in the dentofacial complex and beyond, asses your jaw’s range of motion and opening and closing pathway and listen for joint noises.


TMJ patient at orthodontist office getting dental pictures taken

Diagnostic Procedures for TMJ Disorders

At The Orthospaceship, our approach to diagnosing TMJ disorders is thorough and patient-centric. We believe that in order to treat a problem effectively we need to diagnose it properly. Our philosophy emphasizes the importance of achieving not just aesthetic alignment but also optimal functionality of the jaw and teeth. This holistic approach guides our diagnostic process, ensuring we consider every aspect of your jaw’s health and functionality.


Cone Beam 3D scanner for advanced dental records to diagnose TMJ

Beyond the Basics: Advanced Diagnostic Techniques

During your free consultation for a TMJ diagnosis, expect comprehensive record-taking. We go beyond the surface-level symptoms to understand the root cause of your TMJ disorder. This involves a detailed analysis of your jaw joints, jaw muscles, and the relationship between your upper and lower teeth. We assess for any temporomandibular joint dysfunction, chronic pain, and specific symptoms like jaw stiffness, aching pain in the temporomandibular joints, and any difficulty you might experience with jaw movement.

Clinical Examination

A key part of diagnosing TMJ involves a thorough clinical examination. We look for common TMJ symptoms such as jaw pain, ear pain, and facial pain, as well as some surprising symptoms that may manifest from TMJ disorders. This examination helps us understand the complexities of your TMJ disorder, including identifying any severe symptoms or chronic conditions like teeth grinding, joint dislocation and more, which often contribute to TMJ dysfunction.

Advanced Diagnostic Tools

To accurately diagnose TMJ disorders, we use Cone Beam 3D Imaging to capture both crystal-clear 3D scans and traditional 2D panoramic images. In rare cases, we may even use advanced diagnostic tools such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or TMJ arthroscopy. These tools give us a deeper insight into the condition of your temporomandibular joints, helping us identify any issues with your jaw joints, connective tissue diseases, or signs of temporomandibular joint disorder.


Dr Chantal Hakim & Dr Isaac Hakim evaluating a patient with symptoms of TMJ

TMJ Treatment Planning

Once we’ve pinpointed the specifics of your TMJ disorder through our detailed diagnostic process, the next crucial step is crafting your personalized treatment plan. At The Orthospaceship, we understand that each case of TMJ disorder is unique, and so should be the approach to treating it. Our dedicated team is committed to designing a treatment plan that not only addresses the symptoms but also targets the underlying causes of your TMJ disorder. By addressing the root cause of your TMJ disorder you will be one step closer to a pain-free life.

Personalized Treatment Options

Post-diagnosis, our team at The Orthospaceship will discuss personalized non-invasive treatment options with you. Treatments typically consist of removable appliance therapy and may include additional in-office modalities such as electrogalvanic stimulation, physical therapy, hot and cold therapy and botox.  We tailor our approach to your specific needs. Treatment options aim to provide pain relief, address severe symptoms, and improve the overall function of your jaw.

Holistic Approach to TMJ Care

We believe in a holistic approach to treating TMJ disorders, often incorporating stress reduction techniques, relaxation techniques, guidance on eating soft foods and orthodontic treatment to alleviate discomfort. For those with teeth clenching habits, oral splints may be recommended. Our goal is to treat TMJ not just as an isolated issue but as part of your overall well-being.


Patient smiling while at the orthodontic office after TMJ treatment

Treatment Pathways Post-Diagnosis

Diagnosis is just the beginning. Depending on your specific situation, we might explore various treatment pathways. This could range from physical therapy, which can work wonders in improving jaw function, to the use of oral splints. In some cases, medication like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can offer much-needed relief from pain.

Your Journey to TMJ Relief Starts Here

Your journey to diagnose and treat TMJ is in good hands at The Orthospaceship. With our commitment to a Whole Health Approach and our comprehensive diagnostic approach, we aim to bring you relief from TMJ pain and improve your quality of life. If you’re experiencing TMJ symptoms or suspect you have a TMJ disorder, schedule a free consultation with us today. Let’s embark on this journey together towards a pain-free, functional jaw.

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