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TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction)

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome (TMD) is a common condition affecting a wide variety of people. TMD is characterized by severe headaches, jaw pain of varying degrees, grinding teeth, and an intermittent ringing in the ears. There are many things that can lead to TMD and therefore, a multidisciplinary approach is often employed in treating these conditions. As the Oral Surgeon, Dr. Fairbanks is a part of a larger team that includes your Dentist, Physical Therapists, Massage, Acupuncture, Neurology and your Family Physician.

The symptoms of TMD are debilitating and can greatly interfere with every day life. The hallmark features of TMD prompting patient to seek treatment are pain and dysfunction. Our objective in TMD treatment includes using the surgical and pharmacological tools at our disposal to get you comfortable and functioning without restriction.


TMD can be a very vexing problem for patients. Often, due to pain and functional limitations, the TMD patient will aggressively seek potential remedies for resolution. The most recent evidence points towards a conservative treatment plan that relies on minimally invasive and reversible treatments as a starting point. More invasive treatments to reconstruct the patient's bite or jaw joint are reserved for certain indications and for patients refractory to conservative therapies.

What does treating TMD involve?

Key to any treatment, and especially TMD, is establishing a formal diagnosis. Dr. Fairbanks will lead you through a series of questions regarding your history and a comprehensive examination in order to pinpoint the cause(s) of your TMD. Oftentimes additional diagnostic imaging is required to round out the diagnosis. This advanced imaging can be in the form of panoramic radiography, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) depending on what structures need to be visualized.

Once a firm diagnosis is attained, we put together a treatment plan informed by your history, diagnosis and treatment goals. This treatment can include the following:

  • dental guards (splints) custom fabricated by your dentist
  • physical therapy treatments and modalities
  • pharmacotherapy (anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants can alleviate discomfort while root causes are addressed)
  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • minimally invasive joint injections with Dr. Fairbanks
  • Arthrocentesis of the jaw joints with Dr. Fairbanks
  • Botulinum Toxin (BoTox) injections for chronic facial muscle spasms with Dr. Fairbanks

If you are experiencing any symptoms of TMD, we encourage you to contact our office today to schedule an appointment.