TMD Diagnosisin Bellevue, WA

Jaw Pain Stumping You? Advanced Diagnostics for TMJ Disorders

If you suffer from chronic jaw pain, headaches, or difficulty chewing, getting an accurate diagnosis is critical to finding relief. TMJ disorders (TMD) can have complex causes and vague symptoms that are often misdiagnosed. At the Sleep Apnea and Facial Pain Center in Bellevue, WA, Dr. Jeff Doneskey is a seasoned expert in pinpointing the source of TMJ and facial pain using advanced diagnostic technology and evaluation techniques. 

With a precise TMD diagnosis, customized treatment can target the specific issues causing your symptoms. Reach out to us today by calling (425) 646-6409 to schedule a TMJ evaluation.

What Is TMD?

Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMD) refer to conditions affecting the temporomandibular joints, muscles of mastication (chewing), and associated structures. TMD is an umbrella term for pain and dysfunction of the jaw joints and muscles that control jaw movement. This can include issues with the jaw, jaw joint (or TMJ), and surrounding facial muscles that control chewing and moving the jaw. 


There are many possible causes of TMD, including injury or trauma, grinding or clenching teeth, arthritis, and stress. TMD can greatly impact a person’s quality of life. Severe TMD that goes untreated can even lead to depression. That’s why getting an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment is so important for those suffering from these often painful conditions.

TMD Diagnosis

Symptoms of TMD

There are several common signs and symptoms of TMD. These include:


  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw, face, neck, shoulders, and head
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds/sensations in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth
  • Difficulty fully opening or closing the mouth
  • The jaw that gets “stuck” or “locked” open or closed
  • Teeth that don’t fit together properly (malocclusion)
  • Headaches or ear pain
  • Jaw pain or discomfort when chewing, speaking, or yawning


The symptoms may come and go, often worse with jaw movement or chewing. Stress, lack of sleep, hormonal fluctuations, and other factors can worsen TMD pain and dysfunction. If any of these symptoms persist, it’s wise to seek evaluation and treatment. Dr. Doneskey at the Bellevue Sleep Apnea and Facial Pain Center specializes in diagnosing and treating all types of TMD.

How is TMD Diagnosed?

Dr. Doneskey uses advanced technology and a comprehensive exam process to accurately diagnose TMD. Initial diagnosis begins with a detailed medical history, asking questions about symptoms, onset, pain patterns, and health factors that could contribute. An oral exam checks for problems with jaw motion, joint noises, malocclusion, and muscle tenderness. Advanced imaging like CT scans or MRIs may be used to get a closer look at the jaw joints and surrounding structures. Dr. Doneskey will check for arthritis, disc displacement, tumors, fractures, and other joint problems that may underlie the condition.


Customized digital bite analysis is also used to pinpoint bite alignment issues that might be causing or exacerbating TMD. This technology allows Dr. Doneskey to analyze your bite down to the micron. Dental impressions are taken and then scanned digitally. This data is used to create an accurate 3D model of your teeth, jaws, and their unique relationship. From this, any interference points or instability in the bite can be identified that might contribute to TMD pain and dysfunction.


Other diagnostic tools include electromyography (EMG) to measure muscle activity, joint vibration analysis, and advanced cone beam CT technology. Using all of these techniques allows for a precise diagnosis of the contributing factors to your TMD. This sets the stage for customized, effective treatment.

Types of TMJ Treatment

Orthotic Appliances

Dr. Doneskey employs state-of-the-art orthotic appliances, such as the Silent Partner, to provide relief for TMJ-related pain. These custom-fitted devices gently reposition the bottom jaw bone, alleviating pressure on the affected joint. By wearing an orthotic appliance, patients can experience significant improvement in their symptoms.

Physical Therapy

Along with orthotic appliances, Dr. Doneskey may recommend a tailored physical therapy regimen. This program focuses on strengthening the jaw muscles, stimulating jaw bones, improving flexibility, and promoting joint health.


Physical therapy can also help to decrease clicking, teeth grinding, or popping of the jaw. Patients can achieve lasting relief from chronic facial pain through a combination of in-office sessions and at-home exercises.

Dental Procedures

For more severe cases of TMJ, Dr. Doneskey may recommend specific dental procedures. These interventions and treatments may include dental restorations to correct bite misalignments or, in rare cases, surgical interventions. Rest assured, Dr. Doneskey’s experience and advanced techniques ensure any procedure is conducted with the utmost precision and care.

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes TMD?
Can TMD symptoms come and go?
Can TMD affect your ears?
How successful is TMD treatment?
What causes TMD?

There are many possible causes including injury, genetics, arthritis, bite problems, teeth grinding or clenching, jaw overuse or posture habits, stress, and other factors. Often, there are multiple contributing issues.

Can TMD symptoms come and go?

Yes, the symptoms can fluctuate in severity. They may calm down at times, then worsen with pain flare-ups. Stress, hormones, poor sleep, and jaw overuse can aggravate symptoms.

Can TMD affect your ears?

Yes, some TMD patients experience ear pain, clogged ears, or ringing ears. This is due to the proximity between the TM joints and inner ear structures. Treating the TMD can reduce ear symptoms.

How successful is TMD treatment?

Most patients find significant relief from pain and improvement in jaw function with customized TMD therapy. Success rates are 85% and higher for non-surgical treatments like bite splints and oral appliances. Surgical success rates are lower but still benefit many refractory cases.

Facial Pain Taking Over Your Life? A TMJ Specialist Can Help

If you suffer from debilitating jaw pain, difficulty chewing, or chronic headaches that just won’t go away, you don’t have to keep living like this. Dr. Doneskey and his caring staff at The Sleep Apnea and Facial Pain Center understand the frustration of living with undiagnosed facial pain or TMD. Their state-of-the-art facility in Bellevue, WA, offers hope through precise diagnosis and customized treatment plans that provide relief. 

Patients travel from all over Puget Sound, including Seattle, Kirkland, and Redmond, to experience the healing difference. Call (425) 646-6409 today to schedule your evaluation and take the first step toward a pain-free life! Our staff is ready to help you feel like yourself again.