TMJ disorders are a family of problems that affect your temporomandibular joint, which is the joint that allows your mouth to open and close and move side to side smoothly (your jaw joints). Our oral surgeons are jaw specialists who can help diagnose and correct TMJ problems from our office in Los Angeles, CA. If you are experiencing discomfort, tightness, pain, clicking or snapping sounds in your jaw, or other symptoms, you may have a TMJ disorder.
There are many reasons that people develop TMJ disorders, some of which can be controlled through simple lifestyle changes. Excessive clenching or grinding of your teeth can put extra stress on the jaw muscles, causing tension and other problems. The use of a night guard can sometimes relieve the tension in overstrained muscles. In other cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve chronic jaw pain. Regardless of the cause of your TMJ disorder, treating jaw issues early is the best way to prevent future discomfort and complications.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
Any combination of the following symptoms and risk factors may relate to a TMJ disorder:
- Soreness or stiffness around the jaws or teeth
- Frequent headaches
- A clicking or grating sound when opening and closing the mouth
- Clenching or grinding of the teeth during sleep
- Pain when opening the jaw or biting into certain foods
- Jaws that snap open or shut (because of a general sense of tightness)
- A history of arthritis
- Sensitive or worn down teeth
Treatment can vary depending on the extent and cause of your TMJ issues. In general, the best treatments are a combination of self-care techniques and professional help. Some of the most effective self-care techniques you can use include
- Improving your posture (sitting up straight, not slouching, etc.)
- Resting your jaw by keeping teeth apart when not in use
- Using a mouth guard at night to prevent clenching
- Stress management techniques
- Doing exercises to stretch your jaw
- Avoiding very hard and chewy foods for a while
If these lifestyle changes alone can’t correct your condition, your doctor may prescribe anti-inflammatories, pain relievers, muscle relaxers, or other treatments. Orthodontics and jaw surgery are also options to consider when nonsurgical treatments do not effectively control your symptoms.
TMJ Disorder Diagnosis and Treatment in Los Angeles, CA
If you live in Los Angeles, CA, and you notice problems with your jaw or TMJ, contact our office. Our oral surgeons are jaw specialists with years of experience diagnosing and treating issues with the joints and the bite. One of our staff members will be happy to help you schedule an appointment.