TMJ Pain and Headache Treatment in San Diego
Effective treatment for TMJ disorder
Your jaw joint could be causing you headaches, pain and more!
The jaw joint, also known as the temporomandibular joint (or TMJ), connects the lower jaw to the temporal skull bones directly in front of the ear on each side of the head. It acts like a hinge and is used in activities such as talking and eating.
TMJ Disorder (TMD) is a general term used to describe issues with the jaw joint and the muscles attached to it. The tension in the jaw muscles can lead to headaches, neck pain and other symptoms. There can be many causes behind jaw joint issues, including bite misalignment, teeth grinding and injury.
Our office handles many TMD cases. If your TMJ trouble is caused by grinding or clenching your teeth or by poor bite alignment, our doctors can help correct the problem with a state-of-the-art night guard or by altering the chewing surfaces of your teeth to improve your bite.
Typical symptoms of a malfunctioning TMJ
Typical symptoms of TMJ Disorder (TMD) are:
- Facial pain or tenderness around the jaw joint area
- Difficulty opening the mouth very wide
- Jaws that get “locked”
- Clicking, grating or popping sounds when opening and closing the mouth
- Difficulty chewing
- Neck pain
- Upper shoulder pain
- Ringing in the ears
Causes of TMJ problems
- Misaligned bite. A misaligned bite means your teeth are not coming together properly. Examples of this are an overbite or underbite. A poor bite causes stress on the muscles and nerves involved in moving the jaw in chewing. This pain can also be “referred” to other parts of the head and neck. Reasons for a misaligned bite include inherited jaw misalignments, injury or broken-down or worn teeth.
- Teeth clenching and grinding (Bruxism). Grinding or clenching your teeth, which patients often do unknowingly in their sleep, can cause a lot of pressure on the TMJ.
- Stress. Stress can get people into the habit of tightening their facial and jaw muscles or clenching their teeth.
- Arthritis in the jaw joint
- Dislocation of the joint from the socket
Treating TMJ Issues
Treatment begins with a thorough evaluation. The doctor will perform a head and neck exam and check for clicking, popping or jaw pain, then inspect the teeth and jaw for irregularities.
Depending on your individual situation, the doctor will recommend the appropriate appliance or do a bite adjustment, or both.
A night guard is a plastic mouthpiece custom-designed for your mouth and worn while you are sleeping. It is used to alleviate grinding and clenching of the teeth by preventing the upper and lower teeth from touching, and it corrects the bite by bringing the jaws into a better position. The result is less tension in the jaw joints.
The doctor may perform a treatment called occlusal equilibration to adjust the bite. In this procedure, the doctor alters how the patient’s upper and lower teeth bite together by reshaping the chewing surfaces of some or all of the teeth.
To make an appointment, call 619‑831‑8832 (San Diego), 858‑842‑5850 (Poway) or click here to request an appointment online.