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Temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) are a group of more than 30 conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and muscles that control jaw movement. “TMDs” refers to the disorders, and “TMJ” refers only to the temporomandibular joint itself. People have two TMJs; one on each side of the jaw. You can feel them by placing your fingers in front of your ears and opening your mouth.

Diagnosing a TMJ disorder is more about identifying what it’s not than pinpointing what is actually wrong. Other dental problems such as a toothache are easily identified and treated, but TMJ diagnosis is trickier than that. It often comes down to the descriptors patients use during their dental exam and appointment along with examining the face and jaw. X-rays and bite impressions can also be useful in diagnosing TMJ disorders.

Many TMDs last only a short time and go away on their own. However, in some cases they can become chronic, or long lasting. In addition, TMDs can occur alone or at the same time as other medical conditions such as headaches, back pain, sleep problems, fibromyalgia, and irritable bowel syndrome. A recent study found that about 11-12 million adults in the United States had pain in the region of the temporomandibular joint. Temporomandibular disorders are twice as common in women than in men, especially in women between 35 and 44 years old.

Dr. Nojan Bakhtiari is a board-certified TMJ and Oral Facial Pain specialist. He focuses his practice on TMJ disorders, oral pain, facial pain and associated headaches. He treats patients in New York City. His practive is convenintly located in midtown Manhattan by Grand Central Terminal and Bryant Park.

Dr. Nojan shares his in-depth knowledge of TMJ and facial pain as professor at Columbia University and Columbia University’s Medical Center. He is one of very few diplomates of the American Board of Orofacial Pain and a Fellow of the American Academy of Orofacial Pain.

As an expert in the field, he has been invited to lecture at New York University, New York-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital, New York State Dental Association, and numerous dental societies and conferences.

Dr. Nojan was in charge of the Orofacial Pain and TMJ Disorders service at Yale-New Haven from 2015-2020. He is a past professor of Orofacial Pain & TMJ at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, where he led the clinical service and academic curricula for the entire university and residency programs.