TMJ Disorder Treatment

The jaw joint–known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ)–is one of the most complicated and most oftenly used joints in the body, which leaves it vulnerable to overuse injuries and dysfunction. 

What is a TMJ disorder?

The TMJ is where the jaw (mandible) connects to the skull. This joint allows us to speak, chew, and swallow most commonly. The TMJ is capable of applying and sustaining immense amounts of pressure. However, this pressure combined with near-constant use of the jaw joint can lead to TMJ disorders and chronic pain. 

What are the signs and symptoms of a TMJ disorder?

Signs and symptoms of a TMJ disorder may vary from patient to patient, but the most common symptoms include:

  • Persistent jaw or face pain
  • Jaw popping, clicking, stiffness, or locking
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Earaches
  • Worn or damaged teeth
  • Stiffness in the back and/or neck
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Misaligned bite

The hallmark of a TMJ disorder is chronic jaw pain that persists even when you’re not actively using your jaw. If you’re experiencing chronic jaw pain, then call our Castro Valley Dental Home team immediately. The sooner we can treat your TMJ disorder, the sooner you’ll get much-needed relief from the pain and tension.

What can I do to treat my TMJ disorder?

A TMJ disorder isn’t just painful–it can disrupt your daily life, too. That’s why Dr. Matthew Yuen works hard to help patients treat their TMJ pain and reclaim their health and lives.

There are many ways that dental and medical professionals can treat TMJ disorders, such as:

  • Custom-made mouthguards: Personalized splints or night guards can be treatments that Dr. Yuen starts when managing a TMJ disorder. These custom-made appliances are designed to prevent teeth grinding, which can put up to 250 pounds of force on the teeth. Therefore, these appliances protect the teeth and guide the jaw into more comfortable positions.
  • Orthodontics: For some patients, misaligned teeth may be the cause of a TMJ disorder. Subsequently, Dr. Yuen may recommend orthodontic treatments, such as Invisalign or braces. 

In severe cases, the above treatments may not be enough to relieve TMJ pain. In those instances, Dr. Yuen may refer patients to another specialist, such as an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Regardless, our entire Castro Valley Dental Home dental team will work tirelessly to find the best treatment for you.

How do I prevent a TMJ disorder?

Patients can do several things to prevent jaw pain and TMJ disorders, such as:

  • Stress management: Oftentimes, stress leads to unconscious teeth grinding and tension in our jaws. Subsequently, finding healthy ways to manage stress can greatly improve a TMJ disorder. Our team suggests meditation, yoga, and frequent massages to help you relax and manage stress.
  • Avoid overuse: Eating hard-to-chew foods, chewing gum, and nail-biting are all habits that lead to overuse. So, ditching gum and choosing softer foods may help alleviate chronic jaw pain.
  • Gentle stretching: Exercising the jaw may sound counterintuitive, but working on jaw mobility is integral to relieving TMJ pain. Therefore, gently stretching and exercising the jaw helps improve mobility while reducing TMJ pain and tension. You can also massage or apply warm compresses to the area which can help relieve the pain.
  • Regular dental visits: Dr. Yuen is specially trained to detect signs of bruxism and TMJ disorders. That’s why we encourage patients to schedule regular dental checkups at our Castro Valley Dental Home practice at least every 6 months to prevent worsening TMJ disorders.

TMJ Disorder Treatment in Castro Valley, CA

Without proper intervention, a TMJ disorder can drastically affect your day-to-day life. The joint can wear down over time, causing persistent discomfort or pain. So, be proactive–schedule an appointment to discuss TMJ treatment options with our caring dentists. Call 510-886-3888 to get started now!

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