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TMJ Treatment
Victorville, CA

Your mouth is made up of many working parts. The temporomandibular joints, which are located on each side of your face where the mandible connects to your skull, work together with the attached bones, muscles, and ligaments to allow you to open and close your mouth as well as move the jaw from side to side. If the joints become irritated, the functions of your joints can be significantly affected. You may find it difficult, if not impossible, to move your mouth at all. If your temporomandibular joints are causing you issues, Kelly Smile Dentistry can help.

TMJ Disorder

TMJ disorder is a blanket term that describes some different issues that affect the temporomandibular joints, commonly called the TMJ. These issues can also affect the jaw, as well as the attached muscles and ligaments. These issues cause irritation and inflammation, which can make even basic movements of your mouth both painful and difficult. Joint pain is typically the most obvious sign that there is something wrong with your TMJ, including:
•  Facial pain and swelling.
•  Difficulty opening your mouth. You may even find it nearly impossible to perform tasks like eating or speaking.
•  Your jaw may temporarily lock open or close.
•  Clicking, popping, or grinding sounds and sensations when you move your mouth.
•  Chronic headaches or earaches. These issues are caused by radiating pain from the joints.

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

There are several different things that can cause TMJ disorder.
•  Bruxism. If you grind and clench your teeth, the excessive forces that your jaw muscles exert can irritate the joints. Bruxism is often caused by stress, but it can also be caused by alignment issues or stimulants like caffeine or certain medications.
•  Facial trauma. Injuries to the face can affect the TMJ.
•  Jaw dislocation. Even dislocation that lasts only a few seconds can cause small tears in the tissues in the joints, which can cause irritation and inflammation.
•  Certain types of arthritis. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis can both affect your TMJ. Osteoarthritis causes the degradation of the cartilage in your joints while rheumatoid arthritis causes joint inflammation.

How Is TMJ Disorder Diagnosed?

To provide you with the best treatment for your TMJ disorder, we first need to diagnose the cause. This is done with a thorough oral exam. We look over your teeth and your jaws, assessing wear patterns on the teeth as well as assessing any alignment issues. In addition to a visual exam, we also take images of your mouth so that we can take a closer look at the hidden areas of your mouth, including your jaw bone, your ligaments, and the joints. Once we can determine the cause of your TMJ disorder, we can then recommend treatment options.

Woman with hurting jaw needs to see dentist at Kelly Smile Dentistry

Treatment Options for TMJ Disorder

The treatment options available to you for TMJ disorder will vary based on the cause. Common treatments include:
•  Home remedies. For minor discomfort, we may recommend over the counter pain relievers, or we may prescribe something stronger. If TMJ disorder is caused by stress, we may also recommend relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises or yoga.
•  Oral appliances. A custom fit night guard can be provided if your TMJ disorder is caused by bruxism. The night guard provides cushion, protecting your teeth, your jaw, and the joint from excessive pressure.
•  Botox. While Botox injections are usually performed for cosmetic purposes, they can also be used to treat bruxism. Strategically injected, Botox weakens the muscles that clench, alleviating the pressures on your jaw and joints.
•  Orthodontics. If TMJ disorder is caused by an off bite, orthodontics may be recommended.
•  Oral surgery. If no other treatments have proven effective, or the condition is severe, you may be recommended for an oral surgical procedure.

You do not have to live with TMJ pain and difficulty doing even basic things like eating and speaking. For more information on TMJ disorder, and to learn about your treatment options, call Kelly Smile Dentistry today at (442) 229-0766.

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Victorville Office

12120 Ridgecrest Rd
Suite 203
Victorville, CA 92395

(442) 229-0766
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