TMJ Disorder Specialist

North Park Smiles

Family Dentist & Cosmetic Dentist located in North Park, San Diego, CA

The temporomandibular joints or TMJ are one of your most important joints that you use every day to eat and speak. So when it feels tender or painful for days and weeks on end, it can quickly become unbearable. Luckily, there are solutions, and at North Park Smiles, Eduardo Díaz, DDS, and his team can help you find the right one for you. For more information on TMJ disorders and treatment options, call their offices in the North Park area of San Diego and Chula Vista, California, today or make an appointment online.

TMJ Disorder Q&A

What is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the joints on either side of your head that connect your jawbone to your skull. Each joint is similar to a sliding hinge and is cushioned by cartilage and a small, shock-absorbing disc. The joints play a very important role in the strength of your bite. 

What are TMJ disorders?

TMJ disorders are a condition where the TMJ begins experiencing symptoms like:

  • Pain or tenderness in the TMJ joints
  • Pain or tenderness in the jawbone
  • Aching pain in or around your ear
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Locking of the joint that makes opening or closing your mouth difficult

You may also notice a clicking or grating sound when you move your jaw. This clicking can also occur without any other symptoms of TMJ disorders, and should not be cause for concern if it occurs without causing pain or tenderness.

Most people with TMJ disorders aren’t sure of the exact cause. It can sometimes be a result of a jaw injury, genetic predisposition or arthritis, or a combination of all three. Many people with TMJ disorders have a history of clenching their jaw or grinding their teeth, known as bruxism.

Because the TMJ is important and simultaneously vulnerable, TMJ disorders are relatively common. Luckily, they can usually be treated and reversed easily, and without the need for surgery.

How are TMJ disorders treated?

Minor cases of TMJ pain can sometimes pass without intervention, but one or more of the following treatments are most common.

Medication

Anti-inflammatories and pain relievers deal directly with the symptoms of TMJ disorders, and certain antidepressants can prevent bruxism and provide pain relief.

Oral appliances

Essentially mouth guards worn over the teeth, oral appliances can also help relieve symptoms of TMJ disorders and prevent recurring pain.

Physical therapy

Therapy can help the symptoms of TMJ disorders and also help address its root causes, like bruxism.

In the most severe cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the joint, but the team at North Park Smiles advocates for a conservative approach to treatment. They make sure to exhaust all other effective pain relief options before advising surgery.

If you’re experiencing TMJ pain, call North Park Smiles today or make an appointment online with the scheduling tool.