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Jason Aanenson, DDS | TMJ in Freeman


Dr. Jason Aanenson
Dr. Alex Whitesell

Dr. Serena Whitesell

Freeman Dental Center

1008 Industrial Rd,
Freeman, SD 57029
(605) 925-4999

Parkston Dental Center

116 North 1st Street,
Parkston, SD 57366
(605) 928-3363

Viborg Dental Center

103 W Pioneer Avenue,
Viborg, SD 57070
(605) 326-5612



Many people suffering symptoms as headaches, earaches, tenderness of the jaw joints or muscles, or dull aching facial pain often share a common problem.  These people may suffer from a group of problems related to the jaw joint also known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).  These problems are often referred to as TMJ disorders or TMD.  The muscles and joints may not function properly, resulting in cycles of pain and spasm.   

The structures making up the TMJ include muscles and ligaments, bones and cartilage discs.  Any problem preventing this system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bone from working together properly may result in a TMJ disorder.


What Causes TMJ Disorders?

While some cases of TMJ disorder may have clear causes such as trauma, arthritis, or severe stress, most are due to a combination of factors.  Cartilage discs can slip out of position in the joint, leading to problems such as clicking, popping, or lack of range of motion. 

Habits such as clenching or grinding the teeth (bruxism) may develop as a response to stress, or as part of a sleep disorder.   These habits can tire the muscles and cause them to go into spasm.   Persistent muscle problems may affect the joints themselves, and a complex cycle of pain and improper function can develop. 

It is important to note that while many of the above factors can cause TM disorders, there are other factors that can be involved.  For this reason, it is important to have a diagnosis of the problems for each case.


What are Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorders?

 TM disorders have many signs and symptoms.  Some common ones include the following:

Worn or chipped teeth

A change in the way the teeth fit together

Tenderness of the jaw muscles.

Clicking or popping noise when opening or closing the mouth.

Difficulty in opening one's mouth.

Jaws that aren’t able to fully open or get stuck closed

Pain brought on by yawning, chewing or opening the mouth widely.

Certain types of headaches , neck pain, or shoulder pain.


Drs. Aanenson and Kuiper can recommend a course of treatment after taking a complete history, conducting a clinical examination and prescribing proper imaging such as x-rays, CT scans, and MRI. Other diagnostic tests can be used. 

Our primary goal in treating TMJ problems is achieving comfort for patients.  Many patients require a team approach for treatment which can include splint therapy, therapeutic medication, orthodontics, physical therapy, chiropractic, or surgical care.  We work with each patient to get a proper diagnosis and plan of treatment.






Freeman Dentist | TMJ. Jason Aanenson is a Freeman Dentist.

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