TMJ Treatment in Irvine, CA
Temporomandibular joint disorder, often shortened to TMJ or TMD, is a degenerative condition of the joint where your lower jaw connects to your skull, just below your ear.
The condition causes a number of uncomfortable and debilitating symptoms including:
- Intense pain in the joint that can radiate to the neck, shoulders, ears, and temples
- Clicking or popping sounds in the joint
- Locking or sticking of the joint
- Discomfort or pain while eating
- A grating sensation with movement
Dr. Robertson has extensive experience in the treatment of TMJ and related disorders such as bruxism, which causes clenching and grinding of the teeth. Our office also has a cone-beam CT scanner, which is helpful in diagnosing TMJ and related disorders. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or are aware that you grind or clench, please call our office today to schedule an evaluation appointment.
What Causes TMJ?
TMJ is linked to a number of potential causes and risk factors. Some of the most common include:
- Arthritis in the joint
- Injury to the joint from trauma
- Erosion or incorrect movement of the supportive disc
- A history of bruxism
The condition appears to be most common in women in their 20s through their 40s although the reason for this is unknown.
We’ll discuss your symptoms and use digital imaging technology to check your joint for damage. It’s important that we understand the severity of your symptoms and the damage to your joint before we plan treatment.
Treating TMJ usually requires a combination of approaches. Medications can help by reducing inflammation and relieving your discomfort. If bruxism is contributing to your condition, muscle relaxants may be helpful as well, although these are only for temporary relief and are not necessarily a long-term solution. Ice and heat therapy can also relieve pain and swelling. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to provide relief to the joint.
Oral Splints for TMJ Treatment
We have found that oral splints (also known as "night guards") are an effective and affordable treatment option for TMJ. An oral splint is a device that is worn over the teeth and prevents the back teeth from coming together, relieving the pressure on the joint and allowing the inflammation to die down. These appliances come in a variety of styles and can be either soft or firm.
One of the devices we like is the NTI appliance. This small appliance fits comfortably between your front teeth and is worn while you sleep. It gently moves your lower jaw forward so that the back teeth cannot touch and the muscles are able to relax.
Our patients who have used oral splints have been happy with their results, reporting fewer symptoms, an improved range of motion, and less pain and discomfort.
To find out more about TMJ and schedule your free consultation with Irvine dentist Dr. Jeffrey Robertson, please call our office today. Your comfort is important to us, and an oral splint may be the solution you’ve been looking for.