Does your jaw pop or click when you’re talking, yawning, or eating? Do you experience persistent jaw pain or headaches? Then, you might be suffering from a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. But, comfort dentistry can help treat a bothersome TMJ disorder (TMD).
At California Dental Innovations, our San Francisco, CA, dentist, Dr. Mina Levi, has the expertise to diagnose and treat painful TMDs. Ready to see how Dr. Mina can help you? Then schedule your appointment by calling 415-513-5066 or booking it online here.
Not sure if you have a TMD? Keep reading–we’ll explain what the temporomandibular joint is, how it gets disordered, and what you can do about it.
What is the TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects the jaw (mandible) to the temporal bones of the skull. This joint allows us to speak, chew, talk, and yawn. As one of the most frequently used joints in the body, the TMJ is vulnerable to overuse injuries and dysfunction.
Subsequently, it’s no wonder that TMJ disorders impact a whopping 15% of all adults. And, unfortunately, TMDs do not usually subside on their own. So, seeking medical intervention is your best defense against further TMJ degeneration and pain.
What causes TMDs?
Overuse is a common cause of TMDs. However, several other factors that may contribute to a TMD, such as:
- Bruxism–or the unconscious clenching or grinding of teeth
- Trauma to the jaw, head, or neck
- Improper tooth and jaw alignment
In some cases, a TMD may be a combination of several risk factors. Regardless, seeing a specialist (like Dr. Mina!) can help you better understand the nature and cause of TMJ pain.
Common TMD Signs and Symptoms
Common signs and symptoms of TMDs include:
- Jaw soreness or discomfort upon waking
- Chronic headaches or migraines
- Involuntary teeth clenching or grinding (bruxism)
- Pain that radiates from the neck, shoulders, and back
- Pain behind the eyes
- Frequent earaches or ringing in the ears
- Jaw popping, clicking, or locking
- Limited range of motion in the jaw
- Tooth sensitivity
- Changes in how the upper and lower teeth align
- Tingling or numbness in the fingers
Patients may experience one, some, or all of these signs and symptoms if they have a TMD.
How can Dr. Mina treat my TMJ Disorder?
For many patients, the root cause of their TMD is bruxism. This is because bruxism can put over 250 pounds of pressure on the TMJ. That’s why Dr. Mina offers comfortable, highly-effective, custom-made night guards.
Using quality materials and cutting-edge technology, Dr. Mina can craft a personalized night guard that fits perfectly in your mouth. Your custom night guard protects you from unknowingly grinding your teeth in your sleep, which can cause tremendous dental damage over time.
For some patients, a personalized night guard may not relieve their TMJ disorder symptoms. In those cases, tooth- and bite-aligning treatments, like Invisalign®, may be another viable option. Regardless, Dr. Mina will start with the least invasive treatment options before seeking alternatives.
What can I do about my TMJ Disorder?
Some patients find that they can temporarily alleviate their TMJ disorder symptoms at home. For example, common at-home remedies include:
- Jaw exercises, like opening the jaw to stretch tight facial muscles
- Meditation and yoga to minimize stress
- Over-the-counter pain medications
- Hot or cold compresses on the side of the face
- Avoiding excessively hard or chewy foods
While these at-home remedies will not cure your TMD, they may tide you over until you can schedule an appointment with Dr. Mina.
TMJ Disorder Treatment in San Francisco, CA
TMJ disorders can be debilitating. But, you don’t have to live with the pain anymore. Schedule an appointment with our compassionate San Francisco dentist today by calling 415-513-5066 or booking it online here. You’ll wish you had called Dr. Mina sooner!