What is TMJ?

TMJ Symptoms and Treatments

In addition to providing patients with the best options for straightening teeth, the team here at our Los Angeles orthodontics office also offers specialized care and treatment of TMJ disorders. The mission of our practice is to be the standard by which other orthodontic practices are measured by providing a “whole health” approach to orthodontic treatment.

What are TMJ Disorders?

The temporomandibular joint is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw or mandible to the temporal bone of the skull which is located in front of the ear on both sides of your head. These flexible joints allow your jaw to move smoothly up and down and side to side so that you can speak, chew and smile. The muscles which are attached to and surrounding the jaw joint are responsible for controlling the position and movement of the jaw.

TMJ disorders occur as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint and the surrounding facial muscles that control the movement of the jaw.

Symptoms of TMJ

People with TMJ disorders can experience significant pain and discomfort that can be either temporary or long-term. The symptoms of TMJ may include any of the following:

  • Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck or shoulders or around the ear when chewing, speaking or opening your mouth wide
  • Limited ability to open mouth wide
  • A “stuck” or “locked” jaw in the open or closed-mouth position
  • Popping, clicking or grating sounds when chewing or when opening and closing the mouth
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Swelling on the side of the face or on both sides of the face

Other common symptoms of TMJ can also include headaches, neck aches, earaches, hearing problems, upper shoulder pain and ringing in the ears.

Available TMJ Treatment Options

We provide patients in Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and the greater Los Angeles area with TMJ examinations that evaluate the joint tissue in the hinge of the jaw. Often, a common pain reliever and/or the use of a cold compress can alleviate many of the symptoms of TMJ. For more serious cases of TMJ, we will recommend alternative treatments such as the splint to relieve teeth grinding.

What is Corrective Jaw Surgery? Corrective jaw surgery or orthognathic surgery treats and corrects abnormalities of the jaws and teeth. These types of abnormalities can make it difficult to chew, talk and sleep as well as making it difficult to carry out routine, everyday activities. Corrective jaw surgery can correct these types of problems and when used in conjunction with orthodontic treatment, can go far in improving the overall appearance of the facial profile.

It may not be necessary that you require surgery to correct the problem you’re having with TMJ as sometimes orthodontic treatment can address the issue you’re experiencing. When you make an appointment with us for a TMJ evaluation, Dr. Hakim will determine which treatment option would best benefit you.

Click to view a PDF with more information regarding TMJ.

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