TMJ Treatment Specialist

Valle Smiles

Dentistry located in Fairfield, CA

If you have jaw pain, clicking, or locking, it may be your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). A misaligned TMJ can lead to temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD). Often, TMJ is used interchangeably with TMD to refer to disorders affecting your jaw joint. At Valle Smiles in Fairfield, California, the team of experts has extensive background in TMJ/TMD management and treatment, and they’re ready to put their state-of-the-art technology to work for you. Call the office or book through online scheduling now.

TMJ Treatment Q & A

What is TMJ/TMD?

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) can refer to any disorder affecting your temporomandibular joint (TMJ), your jaw hinge joint. In many cases, TMD and TMJ are used interchangeably to refer to jaw disorders affecting this joint. By either abbreviation, it affects more than 10 million Americans today, according to some estimates. 

What are the symptoms of TMJ/TMD?

TMJ/TMD symptoms can include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Clicking noise when you move your jaw
  • Inability to fully open your mouth
  • Jaw locking
  • Aching face
  • Difficulty chewing 
  • Eye pain
  • Ear pain

For many TMJ/TMD sufferers, jaw aches, stiffness, and soreness are quite pronounced and may even cause poor quality-of-life. If you have any of these symptoms, reach out to the Valle Smiles team for an evaluation as soon as possible. You don't have to continue living with the pain. 

What causes TMJ/TMD?

Potential causes of TMJ/TMD include:

  • Bad bite, an imbalance caused by missing, worn, or otherwise damaged teeth
  • Bruxism, or teeth grinding
  • Trauma like a blow to your jaw
  • Injury, like whiplash injury in an auto accident
  • Osteoarthritis in the jaw joint
  • Muscle tension in the jaw

The Valle Smiles team uses a state-of-the-art jaw tracking system to analyze your jaw movements and diagnose TMJ/TMD. They may also use other advanced diagnostic tools including transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), sonography, computed tomography (CT) scans, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine your specific joint problem and optimal treatment.

How does TMJ treatment work?

Treatment depends on the severity of your TMJ/TMD. For mild cases, anti-inflammatory medication and warm compresses can relieve symptoms. For moderate cases, you might wear a custom acrylic orthotic (also called a bite splint) on your bottom arch part time to protect your teeth and gently reposition your jaw if needed.

For more complicated cases, treatment typically has two phases. In the first phase, you wear an orthotic device around the clock to gradually move your jaw into proper position. You typically wear the orthotic for 4-6 months, or until most symptoms are resolved.

If you need phase two treatment, you may wear an orthotic long-term, get dental implants to replace missing teeth, undergo orthodontic treatment, or get new crowns or veneers to preserve your new ideal bite. 

The Valle Smiles team can relieve your TMJ/TMD symptoms using today’s most advanced technology. Call the office or book your consultation using online scheduling now.