TMD is a complex disorder that prevents the jaw joint from functioning properly. The jaw joint, or the temporomandibular joint, connects the mandible to the skull. Complex and necessary, the jaw joint has a full range of motion allowing patients to chew, swallow and speak.

Trauma to the jaw joint, wearing of the jaw cartilage, or maloclussion could cause damage to the temporomandibular joint. TMD occurs when the jaw does not function properly adding unnecessary stress to the surrounding muscles and nerves. Patients often experience painful and chronic symptoms associated with prolonged TMD.

TMD can manifest in many ways in different patients. Common symptoms of TMD include:

  • Chronic headaches, especially in the morning
  • Discomfort or soreness in the neck, shoulders or face
  • Stiffness, popping or clicking of the jaw
  • Earaches or frequent ringing in the ears
  • Pain in the jaw muscles
  • Excessive wear or breakage of teeth

There is no one singular cause of TMD. Joint damage can happen suddenly or occur gradually over time. Stress can frequently exacerbate TMD and may be a driving factor behind painful flare-ups.

Patients who grind their teeth are more likely to experience TMD. Bruxism most commonly occurs while a patient is asleep and may be difficult to diagnose. Teeth grinding puts added stress on the jaw and can damage teeth and the jaw joint.


Dr. Overholtzer takes a comprehensive approach to treating TMD. Based on Bioesthetic principle he looks at all facets of the chewing system. Through thorough analysis of the jaw, teeth, gums, and alignment of the bite, Dr. Overholtzer works to pinpoint the underlying cause of jaw dysfunction.

Treatment for TMD and chronic facial pain will vary depending on the findings of Dr. Overholtzer’s analysis. Dr. Overholtzer will help patients build a treatment plan that will relieve painful symptoms and provide long-term support for a more stable and healthy bite.


Bioesthetic dentistry takes the whole oral system into consideration when looking for solutions to complex dental concerns. Patients with occlusion (bite problems) or TMD symptoms often require advanced splint therapy in combination with other treatments.

Dr. Overholtzer offers jaw stabilization training using custom fit MAGO splints. Patients wear the splint daily to help retrain the jaw. As the face and jaw begin to realign, patients notice diminishing symptoms of TMD.

Learn more about Bioesthetic Dentistry.

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