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The temporomandibular joints, often referred to as TMJ, are the joints and jaw muscles on each side of your face that allow you to open and close your mouth.  They are responsible for allowing your lower jaw (mandible) to move forward, back, and side-to-side.  These joints are some of the most complex in the entire body and in some people can present mild to severe complications and problems.  These problems can be caused by conditions such as arthritis, traumatic injury, stress and teeth grinding, improper jaw alignment, and dislocation.  Diagnosis is a very important step before treatment can be considered.  The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research has recommended a "less is often best" approach in treating TMJ disorders, so oftentimes we will start by recommending conservative treatments such as reducing frequency of nail-biting and gum-chewing or relaxation techniques.  If necessary for your symptoms we may recommend having a night guard, bite splint, or small bite adjustments made.  Some complex cases may be referred to a TMJ specialist for evaluation.

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