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TMJ

Santa Monica Bay Dental

Dentists located in Santa Monica, CA

When you have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, the pain and dysfunction in your jaw can also affect your teeth, neck, and more. The expert dentists at Santa Monica Bay Dental in Santa Monica, California, treat your TMJ with minimally invasive, supportive therapies, or surgery. To find out why you have TMJ pain and get relief from TMJ and its complications — including headaches — contact Santa Monica Bay Dental in the Los Angeles metro area today. Use the online booking form or call the friendly office team.

TMJ Q & A

What is TMJ?

Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the hinges that attach your jaw to the rest of your skull. When you have pain in one or more jaw hinge, you have a TMJ disorder. People often refer to a TMJ disorder as having “TMJ.”

Why do I have TMJ?

You may have inherited a weak or misaligned TMJ. You can also develop TMJ by:

  • Grinding your teeth at night (bruxism)
  • Clenching your jaw 
  • Suffering a jaw injury

As you age you may develop arthritis in your jaw. The disc that protects your TMJ can also erode with time.

How can I tell if I have TMJ?

You may have a mild form of TMJ that doesn’t cause symptoms at all. Some symptoms aren’t directly related to your jaw, but are caused by the muscle tension that affects your shoulders, neck, and head. Common symptoms of TMJ include:

  • Jaw pain
  • Jaw clicking, popping or getting stuck
  • Fatigue in face, jaw, or ear
  • Swollen jaw
  • Neck or shoulder pain
  • Frequent headaches
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)

Your TMJ may affect your ability to chew and even make a simple act — such as yawning — painful or difficult. If you have TMJ symptoms and don’t resolve your dysfunctional jaw, your TMJ may worsen over time.

How do dentists treat TMJ?

At Santa Monica Bay Dental, the cutting-edge dentists always choose the least invasive, most supportive therapies whenever possible. First, they diagnose the cause of your TMJ through an exam and digital X-rays. 

Your dentist observes and listens to your jaw as you open and close it. They palpate your jaw to determine areas of pain. They may also use high-tech scanning technology to evaluate how well your jaw closes and whether your teeth are in proper alignment.

Based on the results of your evaluation, your dentist may recommend therapies such as:

  • Jaw and facial relaxation exercises
  • Anti-bruxism mouth guard 
  • Night guard
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Dental crowns to even out teeth
  • Jaw surgery

To get relief from TMJ and its complications, call the Santa Monica Bay Dental team or use the online appointment form.