TMJ Sherman Oaks


TMJ Sherman Oaks

TMJ (or temporomandibular joint) is the hinge joint the connects the lower jaw – the mandible – to the temporal bone in the skull. The joints are flexible, allowing the jaw to open up and down and side to side. It also enables us to talk, chew and yawn. Muscles surrounding the jaw joint control the movements and positions of the jaw.TMD (or temporomandibular disorders) occurs when problems arise in the jaw and facial muscles. TMD is often just called TMJ by most people. This disorder is caused by a number of problems such as accidents where the jaw is thrust back and forth – as in whiplash. Most of the time it is caused by internal problems within the face, jaw and teeth.The pain of TMJ is what sends one to the dentist. Pain and tenderness around the face, the jaw area, the ear, or the neck and shoulders is often the first sign of a problem. Sometimes the jaw locks open, sometimes the face swells up. Often there is a clicking, popping or grating sound when opening or closing the mouth. Toothaches, headaches, and other head, neck and shoulder symptoms could all point to TMJ.

How does the dentist treat TMJ? After careful examinations and a correct diagnosis, the doctor firsts tries to alleviate the pain. This could mean taking an over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug like aspirin or ibuprofen. Most dentists will also recommend applying moist heat to the painful areas. This is done easily enough by wetting a washcloth and putting it in the microwave for twenty seconds. It's hot, but it helps.Some people may need to take muscle relaxers if they are heavy tooth grinders. Grinding and clenching your teeth leads to tight facial muscles that are loosened with medication. A prescription is required for muscle relaxers.Sometimes anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medicines are given to relieve any stress that might be causing TMJ.If it hurts your face and jaw to chew and swallow, your dentist might ask you to limit your diet to soft foods that do not overwork your jaws. Yogurt, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, beans and fish are all foods that are easy to chew and swallow. Relaxation training may be necessary to manage stress that can lead to teeth grinding. Most people grind their teeth at night. 

The dentist may prescribe a night guard to prevent grinding your teeth at night. Although uncomfortable to some, the night guard make help prevent further problems that can lead to more dental work.There are many other types of treatment for TMJ. If you don't get relief from the methods above, then your dentist might recommend using a TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) unit. The low level electric shocks help relax tight muscles in the face and jaw. This can be done at home, or in the dentist's office.Ultrasound can be tried. The deep, penetrating heat is applied to the joint if it is really sore, or if it gets locked. Trigger-point injections may be used. The dentist will inject pain medication into the tender facial muscles. While the medication is working, the patient is often given a few simple jaw stretching muscles to do.If poorly aligned teeth are the problem, and relaxation and night guards are not helping, and none of the above treatments seem to be working, then orthodontic treatment to correct the alignment will probably be the next step.Surgery is always a last option. It is a non-reversible procedure that may or may not help. 

There are two main types of surgery for TMJ: arthroscopy or open joint surgery. Each type of surgery requires anesthesia and that alone has risks.The types of treatment for TMJ varies with each patient. If you are looking for a quality cosmetic dentist for the treatment of your TMJ then our doctor in Sherman Oaks is the dentist you should seek out. He offers top notch TMJ care and treatment. Over the many years he has been a dentist he has treated hundreds of patients with TMJ. His reputation has grown and he has become the best doctor in the area to handle procedures relating to TMJ and TMD. Not every one can be pain free with TMJ treatment, but our specialist aims to help his patients the best he can and he has a 98% success rate. Why not call our TMJ expert in Sherman Oaks today and look forward to a better bite, better smile and a better you.

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