The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts as a gliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. Any dysfunction can lead to pain and discomfort. The pain can sometimes be so debilitating that it can negatively impact your quality of life. Thus, early detection and prompt treatment are essential. 

TMJ treatment in Los Gatos involves a comprehensive approach to provide relief from the symptoms of TMJ disorder and improve your quality of life. 

Exploring the causes of TMJ disorder

The causes may include:

  • Trauma to the jaw (dislocated, or fractured jaw)
  • Bruxism (abnormal teeth grinding or clenching)
  • Arthritis of the jaw bone (inflammation)
  • Malocclusion (when your upper and lower teeth don’t fit usually when in contact)
  • Chronic stress
  • Connective tissue disease

Unleashing the symptoms of TMJ disorders 

  • Jaw pain or tenderness 
  • Pain in one or both TMJ’s
  • Aching pain in and around your ear
  • Difficulty chewing 
  • Aching facial pain
  • Locking of the joint 

Diagnosing TMJ disorders 

Your dentist will evaluate your symptoms and order radiographic imaging of your jaw.

Diagnostic testing includes:

  • X-rays
  • CT (Computed Tomography) scan
  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging).

If needed, a special test known as jaw tracing will be recommended to assess your jaw functions. This helps the dentist to plan the further course of action. 

Treating TMJ disorders 

TMJ treatment depends on the underlying cause and the severity of the pain. Your dentist will initially evaluate your condition and assess your requirements before designing a customized treatment plan. 

This may include:

  • Medications
    • Prescription and OTC (over-the-counter) medications help ease the pain.
    • These include:
      • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
      • Painkillers
      • Muscle relaxants
  • Physical therapy
    • This includes ultrasound, moist heat, or ice therapy. 
  • Splint therapy
    • This is a non-surgical treatment option, also known as oral appliance therapy. 
    • These dental devices help ease pain by relieving the pressure from the muscles surrounding the joint allowing them to relax. 
  • Orthodontic intervention
    • Orthodontists can help correct malocclusions such as overbite, underbite, or open bite. 
    • This therapy uses orthodontic appliances such as braces and palatal expanders to reduce TMJ muscle spasms. 
    • These devices provide better teeth alignment. 
  • Full mouth rehabilitation
    • This may entail placing prostheses such as crowns or bridges in combination with orthodontic therapy. 

Wrapping up

TMJ disorders cause debilitating symptoms negatively impacting your quality of life. But you do not have to suffer from it all your life. If the symptoms keep you from enjoying your life, discuss it with your dentist. They can find the cause and offer the best treatment for you.