TMJ Specialist Chicago

TMJ Specialist Chicago

Pain free use of your mouth and jaw are essential to living a joyful life. If you can’t speak because your jaw hurts, you can’t connect with others. If you can’t eat without pain, physically sustaining yourself becomes a chore rather than a source of comfort or pleasure.

If you’re experiencing jaw pain, facial numbness, popping, migraines, or ringing in the ears, you may be experiencing a temporomandibular joint disorder. Learn more about TMJ at the Mitchell TMJ Institute or call us at (312) 642-1014 to schedule a consultation.

What is TMJ & TMD?

The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) controls your jaw movement. It allows you to chew, talk, and yawn. When something goes wrong with this joint, it’s called a Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD). TMD is a broad category with many potential causes and treatments.

Over 80% of TMD is associated with pain in your facial muscles, jaw, and neck. There is also joint-generated pain that can be caused by a dislocated jaw or displaced disc within the TMJ, or an injury to the rounded ends of the lower jaw called “condyles.” Finally, TMD includes degenerative join diseases like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis in the TMJ. Because of this wide range of potential causes, we always start our TMJ consultations with a detailed exam.

This is a diagram of a human skull that highlights the Temporomandibular Joint.

What to Expect at a TMJ Dentist

A woman in her early thirties with her dark hair pulled back has her jaw muscles examined by a dentist in a white coat in front of a window.

A Thorough Examination

At Mitchell Dental Spa, our TMJ consultations always start with a 45-60 minute examination. We want to make sure we are treating the correct cause so that we can get you the relief you need as fast as possible!

Advanced Technology

Mitchell Dental Spa is one of the nine dentists in the Chicago area who have a Joint Vibration Analyzer, or JVA. (There are over 7,000 dentists in the Chicago area!) A JVA can detect the vibrations coming from the jaw joint, which can tell us about the joint’s level of injury.

A Dentist Who Cares

At Mitchell Dental Spa we are committed to your health and wellbeing. We want you to be able to live your life pain free and we have a history of successfully treating TMJ pain where others failed.

Clenching vs. Grinding

During your initial consultation, one key question is whether you are clenching or grinding your teeth. In general, women tend to clench their teeth while men tend to grind them, though there are exceptions.

When you’re clenching your teeth throughout the night, the muscles in your jaw, face and neck can lock up. While teeth grinding is typically identified by the flat, ground down, molars of your back teeth. Although both clenching and grinding can cause TMJ pain and are treated using nightguards, the type of nightguard is different.

Night Guards for TMJ

Over-the-counter nightguards are generally designed for grinding. They keep your teeth safe from damage but if you are clenching your teeth, a grinding mouth guard will simply give you something to clench onto, potentially allowing you to clench harder, which makes the problem worse. There are actually 10 different types of night guards, so consulting with a TMJ informed dentist is the best way to ensure you’re using the right one for you.

Call us at (312) 642-1014 or schedule an appointment online.

Botox and TMJ

Botox can be a useful treatment for TMJ pain if you clench your teeth. Essentially, it makes it so the muscles can’t clench as hard, which means they don’t get sore and locked up, which is what causes the TMJ pain in “clenchers.”

We’ve had a lot of success using Botox to treat TMJ but it’s important to get this treatment at a TMJ dentist. A medispa simply does not have the training or knowledge about the muscles of the face to provide this treatment appropriately.

A young Asian woman holds the side of her face with her right hand as her face pinches in discomfort.


A TMJ dentist can identify clenching by the strength and tightness of the muscles in your jaw, face, and neck. For grinding, we look at how worn down your teeth are – particularly the back molars.

TMJ pain is multifactorial, meaning caused by multiple factors.

Both men and women experience TMJ, though they can trend toward different causes. For example, more men tend to grind their teeth while more women tend to clench their teeth and jaw. Different nightguards are required for people who clench their teeth than those who grind their teeth.

Also, Botox for TMJ is usually prescribed to people who clench rather than grind. This means more women are prescribed Botox than men, though if a man is clenching his jaw it Botox may still be appropriate.

TMJ pain can have a wide range of causes, which is why we start with a 45-60 minute examination. Identifying both the root cause and the cause of the pain itself are both important. For example, stress is often a root cause of TMJ pain because it can cause you to clench or grind your teeth at night. However, simply saying, “don’t be stressed,” is unhelpful. Instead, we look at what the stress is causing (ie, the clenching or grinding) and treat that.

There are 10 different types of Night Guards and if you’re using the wrong one, it can actually make your TMJ pain worse rather than better. This is particularly true if you clench your teeth and are using a grinding Night Guard. That’s why it’s important to consult with a TMJ informed dentist like Dr. Mitchell to ensure you’re using the appropriate equipment.

Ready to Get Started?

Call us at (312) 642-1014 or schedule an appointment online.  We will answer any questions and concerns, and help you determine if our dentistry service is right for you. Our office is conveniently located at 845 N Michigan Ave Suite 922 E downtown Chicago.


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