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Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Pathway

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Pathway

This guide will help you to know what to expect as you work with your healthcare team to manage and treat temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction.

You will​ have your own unique journey with TMJ dysfunction. How you move through your journey, the number of visits with your healthcare team, the steps you will take, and the order you take them in will depend on your needs. You will make decisions in partnership with your healthcare team. Always follow your healthcare team’s advice.

What is TMJ dysfunction?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is in front of each ear, where your lower jawbone meets your skull (temporal bone).

Temporomandibular joint just in front of ear, with detail of joint showing lower jawbone, muscle, and articular disc.

TMJ dysfunction is the name given to various conditions that can cause pain, clicking, or movement problems around your jaw and the muscles surrounding it.

The exact cause of TMJ dysfunction can be hard to determine and can be a combination of things. Common causes include:

  • jaw injury
  • arthritis in your jaw joint
  • teeth grinding or clenching
  • teeth that don’t fit together exactly as they should
  • stress

Whole-person health

The whole-person health approach will help you and your healthcare team better manage your health condition.

A person is at the centre of a circle with 4 equal, blended parts showing physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial and social parts of health.

Whole-person health draws from the teachings of the medicine wheel. It means thinking about all parts of your health and wellness:

  • physical
  • financial and social
  • emotional
  • spiritual

These parts are all connected and impact each other. It’s important to be aware of your personal needs in each part and to share that information with your healthcare team. Your healthcare team needs to understand who you are and what matters to you.

Support and resources

  • If you need a family doctor, visit Alberta Health Services: Find a doctor.
  • If you need a translator, let your healthcare provider know.
  • If you need health advice any time, day or night, call Health Link at 811.
  • If you need to find programs and services in your community, call or text 211 or visit 211 Alberta.

For more information about TMJ dysfunction, see:

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction pathway map

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction Pathway

Download or print the full patient pathway (PDF) and summary (one-page PDF) to learn more about how to manage and treat TMJ dysfunction.
Patient Pathway      Summary  ​​​​​​

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