Temporomandibular Joint Therapy

The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is located in front of your ears underneath your temple muscles. This hinge connects your mandible (jaw bone) to your skull, that controls full movement of your bottom jaw. Any pain coming from this joint is a Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD). There is a disc between the skull and mandible that gives the jaw full range motion. When this disc inflames or gets irritated it can cause:

  • Tenderness around the ears and joint area
  • Hurts when yawning
  • Popping or clicking that can occur when chewing or opening and closing the mouth
  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Toothaches

    TMJ/TMD Causes

    There are many different suggestions of what the causes of TMD are. Whiplash, injury to the jaw, grinding or clenching of the teeth, arthritis, and more are known causes of inflammation of the temporomandibular joint.

    At Pacific Dental Center we can determine if the cause of this pain is coming from any oral habits, such as grinding of the teeth (bruxism). Even if the cause isn’t from one of these items specifically we can help solve the pain and continue to prevent further discomfort.

    TMJ and TMD Treatment

    When assessing the cause of what your TMD is, if a dental procedure is required, we have different treatments we can provide to relieve the pain. If grinding your teeth or clenching is the cause, the best solution is an occlusal splint, a mouth guard, that prevents the teeth from touching at night. When the cause is bruxism or clenching, this treatment will relieve the disorder. Most of the time teeth clenching and grinding is the issue when TMD is involved.

    If teeth grinding and clenching is not the issue, other treatments are available with an occlusal analysis of the bite. In doing this, molds of the teeth are taken to assess if your bite is correctly aligned. If the bite is the issue, then oral tooth restructure or positioning may be needed. This can be solved with teeth alignment and polishing tooth structure or adding tooth bonding. If the problem is more severe full mouth reconstruction may be required.

    • High dental phobia
    • Hypersensitive gag reflex
    • Complex dental procedures
    • Difficulty with local anesthetics

    The best way to find whether you have TMD and what the cause is, would be to make an appointment with Dr. Snow at Pacific Dental Center. Each individual can have different causes for their TMD, and talking to a doctor is the best way to determine the cause and start treatment to resolve the pain.