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Understanding TMJ

TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint. Put simply, it’s our jaw joint. It’s also sometimes referred to as the TM joint.

We have two TMJs – they are the joints in front of each ear. These joints connect the lower jaw bone (the mandible) to the temporal bones of the skull on each side of the head. 

The muscles controlling the joints are attached to the mandible and allow the jaw to move in three directions: up and down, side to side, and forward and back. When intact, they are the only joints in the human body that work together as a unit. 

The TMJ can affect several other head and neck regions when misaligned or otherwise impaired.

When we have an issue with the TMJ, this is called a TMJ Dysfunction or TMD, however it’s also common to hear the disorder itself referred to as TMJ. 

Any dysfunction in this vital structure may result in head and face pain, because the trigeminal nerve, which affects the TMJ, also affects a large portion of the face and neck. Trigeminal nerves are among the most vital facial structures.

Symptoms can range from sounds in the joint to severe, debilitating pain and dysfunction. 

Some sufferers are mistakenly referred to Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialists due to symptoms presenting like ear pain. This is because the TMJ sits directly in front of the ear and the hot, searing pain that can occur is easy to confuse for an ear infection. 

Conversely, some people report no pain but still have problems moving their jaws. 

TMJ dysfunction symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the jaw muscles 
  • Pain in the face or jaw 
  • Ear pain, pressure, fullness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus) 
  • Pain in the neck and shoulders 
  • Chronic headaches/migraines
  • Jaw muscle stiffness 
  • Jaw muscle spasm 
  • Discomfort or difficulty with chewing   
  • Limited jaw movement or jaw locking 
  • Grating in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth
  • Clicking, crackling or crunching sounds or sensations in your jaw 
  • Wearing down of teeth 
  • Enlarged masseter muscles 

Occasional clicking or discomfort in the jaw joint or chewing muscles is common and not a cause for concern. 

TMJ Treatment Options

TMJ disorder can irritate the trigeminal nerve and cause various painful symptoms. The trigeminal nerve is one of the most important nerves in our bodies – it sends sensory information from our face to our brain. When this nerve becomes irritated or compressed in any way, it can cause episodes of pain that are often described as a burning or stabbing sensation. 

TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) is an umbrella term for problems affecting the muscles and joints near your jaw, including inflammation, grinding teeth, clicking and popping noises when you move your jaw, and facial pain – all of which can potentially lead to irritation of the trigeminal nerve if left untreated. 

  • Pain relief medication can be helpful in dealing with TMJ nerve pain but of course it’s not a solution. Ibuprofen can help alleviate the pain of TMJ dysfunction because it reduces inflammation.
  • Muscle relaxant medication such as diazepam may be prescribed to reduce spasms in the jaw muscle area. It’s best to consult your GP if you decide to take these medications, as they come with potential side effects such as stomach ulcers and kidney damage when taken for an extended period. They should not be regarded as a long-term solution.
  • Your GP or dentist may recommend using a mouthguard as treatment for bruxism (teeth grinding and jaw clenching). These mouthguards are usually worn overnight while you sleep to help your jaw stay in position and prevent tooth grinding or jaw clenching. Your dentist will need to take a mould of your teeth to create a mouthguard fitted to you. Mouthguards may help minimise symptoms but they don’t solve the root cause of the problem, not do they prevent jaw rigidity during the day.
  • Minimise masseter muscle activity. Eating softer foods and avoiding gum chewing and nail biting can help to reduce symptoms of TMJ disorders.
  • Relaxation treatments include deep breathing, meditation and biofeedback to relieve tension in the jaw.
  • Physical treatment can involve massage, electrical nerve stimulation, heat/cold therapy and exercises to enhance joint function and reduce muscular rigidity.
  • Cosmetic injections have been found to provide dramatic relief from the symptoms of TMJ disorders. Off-label use of anti-wrinkle injections is a safe and effective TMJ treatment option. It treats the root cause of TMJ irritation by temporarily relaxing the overactive masseter muscles at the jaw, thus reducing jaw rigidity, grinding and clenching, and therefore preventing associated pain. 

TMJ Injections

When anti-wrinkle is injected into the masseter muscles of the jaw, it relaxes this overactive muscle and thereby relieves jaw tension. As a result of the muscle-relaxing injection, the masseters are inhibited in causing unconscious jaw movements – the ones that have been causing your TMJ pain and headaches. 

This doesn’t completely freeze movement of the TMJ, so don’t worry – you won’t have an unnatural or impeded jaw movement. Rather, it reduces the amount of subconscious movement such as clenching and grinding; serves to cushion the jaw during activities like eating, talking and swallowing; and inhibits overactivity of the muscles.

As a very happy bonus, anti-wrinkle injections for the masseters to treat TMJ also create a slimming effect for the lower face. This is because they work to relax muscle overactivity, and when that happens, the hypertrophied (overgrown) muscle bulk caused by the overactive masseters has a chance to thin out. The result is a slimmer, narrower and less boxy appearance to the jaw and lower face area. 

Having TMJ injections is a simple, relatively comfortable and quick in-clinic treatment. Your clinician will apply numbing cream to the area of skin on your jaw where the masseter muscle is located. The injection itself is brief and most people find it very straightforward and easy to receive. 

Directly afterwards, you will feel no different. For some patients, the sensation of chewing ‘difficult’ foods such as very crunchy or chewy items may feel a little more challenging than normal. This is temporary.

Over the week that follows your treatment, you may notice the effects of your TMJ injections begin to take hold. Your jaw may feel less rigid, and you should notice a slight reduction in clenching or grinding.

The exciting part usually takes place around two weeks following your TMJ treatment, where full results come into effect. Visually, you will likely notice a slimming of the lower face – a giveaway that your TMJ treatment has been successful, and the muscles are relaxed. Most importantly, by this point you should notice a reduction in pain, clenching, grinding, headaches and other symptoms of your TMJ disorder. 

Where You Can Book This Treatment

Contour Clinics provides TMJ treatment at all our clinic locations; Newtown, Five Dock, Castle Hill and Miranda in Sydney, and Stones Corner in Brisbane. 

We welcome patients for a complimentary, no-obligation consultation with one of our Cosmetic Doctors or Senior Cosmetic Injectors, so you can learn more about what your treatment will involve, and what to expect from your results. 

Here at Contour Clinics, TMJ treatment is performed only by highly experienced and qualified Cosmetic Doctors and Senior Cosmetic Injectors, who are skilled and experienced in administering injectables with precision, skill and utmost safety. 

If you’re looking for a solution to the pain of TMJ disorders, contact us online or call 1300 233 803 to arrange a free consult appointment.

The Contour Clinics Guarantee

All treatments at Contour Clinics are performed only by highly experienced, fully qualified and skilled clinicians, who treat each patient as an individual, tailoring treatment to your unique desired outcome. 

Your treatment with Contour Clinics comes with:

  • Complimentary consultation with your Cosmetic Doctor or Senior Cosmetic Injector
  • Your treatment will be performed by that same clinician
  • Our clinicians are fully qualified, experienced and knowledgeable 
  • Premium TGA-approved product used, guaranteed 
  • Gold standard, industry-leading techniques used 
  • Complimentary follow-up appointment to review results
  • Complimentary top-up, if required

Talk to our friendly patient care team! We are happy to answer any questions you may have about our treatment for TMJ. 

Book a consultation with us and find out what our TMJ treatment can do for you.

Consultation at Contour Clinics is comprehensive, complimentary and obligation-free. 

Frequently Asked Questions

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As seen on

Contour Clinics on Ten
Contour Clinics on Cosmechix
Contour Clinics on OK! Mag
ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation
Contour Clinics on Stay At Home Mum
Contour Clinics on Triple J Hack
Contour Clinics on Costhetics
Contour Clinics on Phalloboards
Contour Clinics on Mums of the Shire

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or call us on 1300 233 803


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