The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are located right in front of the ears, connecting the jawbone to the skull. The TMJs are responsible for opening and closing the mouth, moving the jaw side to side, and allowing you to talk, chew, and yawn. Without this mobility, life is a little more complicated. When the TMJs don’t work properly, a person has TMJ disorder (TMD).
CAUSES OF TMD
Determining the cause of TMJ disorder can be difficult, but it is not impossible. Some of the most common causes include:
- A misaligned or uneven bite
- Trauma to the jaw
- Poor posture
- Joint erosion
TMJ DISORDER SYMPTOMS
Patients with TMJ disorder may experience the following symptoms:
- Pain in the jaw
- Aching pain in and around your ear
- Difficulty chewing
- Pain while chewing
- Aching facial pain
- Locking of the joint
- Popping or clicking while chewing
Left untreated, TMJ disorder can wreak havoc on your oral health which will eventually have a negative impact on your overall and mental health. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule an initial consultation at our office today to learn about TMJ therapy.
Want to know if you have TMJ disorder right now? Place two fingers in front of your ears. Open your mouth as wide as your can, then close it. Do those joints pop in and out? Do you hear a clicking sound? If so, you probably have TMD.
When you visit our San Francisco dentist, she will ask about the amount of discomfort you are feeling, your symptoms, and your dental history. She will also conduct a thorough examination which includes a visual assessment and x-rays. CT scans and MRIs may be necessary as well.
Based on her findings, she can diagnose you with TMJ disorder and create a personalized treatment plan.
TMJ DISORDER TREATMENT
There are various treatment options available for patients with TMD. The key to finding relief from TMJ disorder pain is to find an experienced and trusted dentist.
If we can determine the source of your TMJ disorder, we will work to correct it. For example, if you have a misaligned bite, Dr. Levi may recommend Invisalign. If teeth grinding is the issue, you may need a custom nightguard.
In cases where the cause isn’t determined, there are other options. Mouthguards, TMJ exercises, Botox, TMJ massage, nerve blocks, and jaw surgery.
Your dentist should start with the least invasive options before recommending any type of surgical procedure. In many instances, patients visit the dentist regularly for TMJ therapy such as massages and exercises.
TMJ THERAPY IN SAN FRANCISCO, CA
Ready for jaw pain relief? Help is available for people of all ages who suffer from TMJ disorder. Dr. Levi can help realign your jaw and reduce the daily discomfort associated with the TMJ disorder with a custom mouthguard and other effective and non-invasive treatment options. Learn more about TMJ therapy in San Francisco, CA by contacting our friendly dental team today.