TMJ Treatment in Irvine, CA

Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, is a severe and painful medical condition of the jaw joint that connects your lower joint to your skull.

Since our body is a connection of networks, damage to one area can lead to pain or distress in other areas. Dr. Jeffrey Robertson and his Irvine dental staff can help relieve you of your TMJ pain by using modern dental technology and proven dental treatments.

If you find yourself in discomfort and dental pain, give us a call at Jeffrey C. Robertson, DDS so we can diagnose any potential oral health problems. Dental pain is always an indicator of something that needs to be fixed—and soon.

What Is TMD?

The TMJ is what connects your mandible (lower jaw) to your temporal bone (skull) that’s in front of your ear. TMJ isn’t just the bone, however. Muscles that control chewing and opening your jaw are attached to the mandible; also included are nerve and blood vessels. When there are issues with your jaw joint, you’ll notice head and neck pain, ear pain, facial discomfort, headaches, a locked jaw that is difficult to open, biting issues, and clicking or popping noises when you open your mouth.

TMJ dysfunction is also referred to as temporomandibular joint disorder, TMD.

Many people use the terms TMD and TMJ interchangeably, but they do refer to different conditions. TMJ is jaw joint pain, whereas TMD means joint dysfunction where the jaw joint is not functioning as it should. 

What Are the Signs of TMD?

TMD has many different origin stories, but generally, if you find yourself suffering from any of the following, please give your Irvine dental office a call immediately:

  • Intense pain in the jaw joint that you can feel in the shoulders, neck, temples, and ears
  • Clicking or pops when you open your mouth
  • Pain when eating or chewing
  • Headaches when you wake up
  • Locking of the jaw that makes it difficult to open your mouth
  • Straining to eat

Dr. Robertson has years of TMD treatment experience and also in related conditions such as bruxism, which causes clenching and grinding of the teeth. Our Irvine dental office uses a cone-beam CT scanner to diagnose TMD and similar disorders.

The cone-beam CT scanner allows for three-dimensional views of your teeth, nerve pathways, soft tissues, and jawbone all at once—all in less than a minute. Dr. Robertson also uses the scanner to determine dental implant placement as well as for diagnosing dental issues, trauma, and to help with tooth extractions.

If you find yourself feeling anxiety or stress because of jaw joint issues or severe headaches, we might be able to help and fix your issue! Please call Jeffrey C. Robertson, DDS today at (714) 838-7272 to schedule a TMJ evaluation.

What Causes TMD in 92620?

As with many dental health problems, there are a number of reasons why TMD may occur. Many patients suffer from TMD because:

  • Injury or trauma to the jaw joint
  • Arthritis in the jaw joint
  • Erosion of the connective disc
  • Bruxism

Treating TMD in Irvine

During your TMJ evaluation with Dr. Robertson, we’ll go over your symptoms and use advanced dental technology to view your oral structure and determine if there is any damage or trauma to your jaw joint. Dr. Robertson needs to determine how severe your jaw joint trauma is so that we can determine your treatment plan.

We treat TMD with a combination of different approaches in order to effectively combat and heal your symptoms. Dr. Roberston may prescribe medication to reduce inflammation and stop the pain. If you suffer from bruxism (clenching and grinding), we may recommend muscle relaxers to help you feel more comfortable.

To help with swelling and pain, you may use ice and heat directly on the jaw joint. While these approaches may temporarily relieve discomfort, they won’t get to the root cause of the problem. If the problem is severe enough, we may recommend surgery.

Why It's Important Not to Put off TMD Treatment

Irvine patients who have TMJ often suffer from pain and discomfort to their neck, head, ears, and shoulders, along with headaches, dizziness, earaches, and even ringing in the ears. We never want any of our Jeffrey C. Robertson, DDS patients to suffer needlessly; we can help treat any symptoms and improve your quality of life.

You can think of the TMJ as a hinge in the jaw that is essential in opening and closing your jaw, and it connects your lower jaw to the skull. When this joint is inflamed, it can be excruciating and can hinder your ability to eat, sleep, talk, and feel relaxed.

Perhaps your bite is misaligned, this is also known as malocclusion, which means your teeth do not line up properly. When you bite down during eating, you can develop painful inflammation.

Sometimes patients grind their teeth at night without realizing it; this is known as bruxism. Grinding and clenching your teeth can lead to enamel erosion, which can then introduce cavities or teeth fracturing.

Treating your TMD not only ends your pain, but it also addresses your oral health issues. TMD treatment could mean that Dr. Robertson fixes your misaligned bite through orthodontic treatment. If you have bruxism, Dr. Robertson will customize a nightguard for you to wear during your sleep to allow your jaw to rest. You should never accept dental pain as a way of life; it doesn’t have to be an undercurrent in your day-to-day.

Call Jeffrey C. Robertson, DDS today so we can evaluate, diagnose, and create a treatment plan.

Night Guards for TMD Treatment

Nightguards, which you may know as oral splints, are a minimally invasive, non-surgical approach to treating TMD. The night guard or oral splint is worn in your mouth and goes over your teeth to prevent the teeth from touching, which frees and releases any pressure at the joint and allows any inflammation to heal.

You can choose from a variety of nightguards and determine the hardness of the material. We may recommend an NTI device; these go between your front teeth while you sleep and gradually coaches your lower jaw forward so that your back teeth remain apart and your jaw joint muscles can relax.

Patients who use nightguards have reported good results and lesser symptoms, along with less pain and discomfort.

At-Home Solutions for TMD

There are some things Irvine patients can practice at home to try to relieve TMD. Dr. Robertson may recommend jaw exercises or massages to reduce inflammation or muscle pain and promote relaxation.

Additional ways to relax your muscles is by practicing stretching and yoga. If eating is painful, you may want to temporarily eat soft foods and liquids to remove any pressure to your jaw joint and allow it to heal.

Alternating hot and cold temperatures may help your joint relax as well. For moderate to severe pain, you may want to consider a physical therapist to go through helpful jaw exercises that allow you to relax. Things that can exacerbate your jaw joint inflammation include chewing gum, clenching your teeth, grinding your teeth, and eating hard and chewy foods. 

Are You Interested in Learning More About TMD?

To find out more about TMD 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.