Thanks to your temporomandibular joints, you can open and close your mouth, making it possible to eat, yawn and talk. These joints are complex to allow your jaw to make movements in multiple directions, and they are supported by a variety of muscles and ligaments. The temporomandibular joint is a ball-and-socket joint that is cushioned by a special disc. When any of these structures malfunctions or is damaged or injured, you may develop a TMJ disorder, or TMD. Our Los Angeles TMJ dentist can help.
Symptoms of TMD include pain in the face or joint, neck aches, shoulder aches, headaches, earaches or a change in bite. Some may also have grinding, popping or grating sounds or sensations accompanied by pain. Our TMJ dentist in Los Angeles offers treatments that can alleviate your symptoms and restore functionality and comfort to your jaw.
TMJ Dentist Los Angeles
At your consultation, our Los Angeles TMJ dentist will perform an exam. The underlying cause of TMD can vary. Common causes of TMD include arthritis, poor dental alignment, bruxism, stress, injury or jaw dislocation. When possible, addressing the underlying causes of your disorder can help you recover, but in some patients, there may be no obvious cause. In this case, we may address the symptoms and focus on rest and physical therapy to allow the jaw to heal.
Conservative TMD therapies include eating a soft diet, using moist heat to manage pain, practicing relaxation techniques and avoiding activities that place extra stress on the jaw, such as chewing gum or biting your nails. We may prescribe medications, including anti-inflammatory or pain medications, anti-anxiety drugs and muscle relaxants. Physical therapy can strengthen the muscles that support the jaw while a night guard can reduce bruxism. If a malocclusion is responsible for your symptoms, we may also recommend orthodontic treatment to correct the bite abnormality.
Rarely, surgery may be recommended. Surgery is generally only used when a structural abnormality is to blame for the TMD. Most patients respond well to more conservative therapies. Call us today to learn more or to schedule your consultation with our TMJ dentist in Los Angeles.