Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder is a condition that affects the joints on either side of your lower jaw, where your mandible attaches just in front of each ear. Depending on who you ask, temporomandibular joint disorder is frequently referred to as “TMD” or “TMJD.” TMJ disorder can cause a range of uncomfortable symptoms that can significantly impact your quality of life on a daily basis.
Thankfully, there are various treatment options available, including non-invasive approaches that help alleviate pain and improve jaw mobility. If you’re looking for non-surgical TMJ treatment, San Diego Sleep and TMJ Center can help.
TMJ disorder often presents itself with a variety of symptoms. Most of them affect daily activities and are hard to ignore. Some common signs of TMD may include:
Jaw Pain: Persistent pain or discomfort in the jaw joint or surrounding areas is a hallmark symptom of TMJ disorder.
Headaches: Chronic migraines or headaches, particularly in the temple area, can be linked to jaw joint issues.
Facial Pain: Pain that extends into your face, especially around the ears, can be caused by TMJ irregularities.
Clicking or Popping: Audible sounds when opening or closing the mouth, such as clicking, popping, or grinding (what we call “crepitation,”) are indicative of joint dysfunction.
Limited Jaw Movement: Difficulty fully opening or closing your mouth, as well as experiencing a locked jaw, are common with TMD. Because of joint pain or swelling, most people will have limited mobility and find it difficult to take big bites into their food.
Ear Pain: Earaches, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), or a sense of fullness in the ears are common because of how close your jaw joints are to each ear. TMJ pain often disguises itself as ear pain.
Chewing Difficulties: Soreness or pain while chewing, biting into food, or even talking are common.
How can you know whether you have TMJ disorder? When you visit our San Diego office, we will thoroughly evaluate your medical history, including information about your symptoms and any prior injuries. We will also perform an examination of your jaw’s range of motion, listen for clicking or popping sounds, and assess facial muscles for tenderness. Imaging with X-rays, CT scans, or MRI scans can provide detailed images of your internal joint structure, allowing us to identify specific abnormalities. In some cases, diagnostic tests like electromyography (EMG) and joint vibration analysis (JVA) are also used.
Non-invasive treatments are often recommended as a first-line approach for managing TMJ disorder, aiming to alleviate symptoms without the need for surgical intervention. Some effective options include:
- Lifestyle Modifications
- Oral Splints or Mouthguards
- Physical Therapy
- Warm or Cold Compresses
- Orthodontic Correction
In addition to traditional treatments, some alternative therapies may want to be considered prior to planning TMJ surgery. These can include massage therapy, acupuncture, meditation or stress management, and chiropractic care.
Selecting a qualified and experienced TMJ doctor is essential to receive proper diagnosis and treatment of TMD. As you look for a reputable TMJ specialist in San Diego be sure to consider things like:
Research: Is the provider certified in treating TMJ disorders? Do they have a track record of positive patient outcomes?
Credentials: Check the certifications and affiliations of potential specialists to ensure they have the necessary training.
Patient Reviews: Read reviews from other patients to gauge their experiences and satisfaction with the specialist’s services.
Consultation: Schedule an initial consultation to discuss your symptoms, concerns, and potential treatment options to determine if the provider is a good fit.
Communication: Choose a specialist who listens attentively, explains treatment plans clearly, and addresses your questions and concerns.
If you’re experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder and want non-invasive treatment options that don’t involve surgery, San Diego Sleep and TMJ Center is here to help. Our team of experienced providers is dedicated to creating personalized care plans with innovative solutions to improve your quality of life. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward a pain-free and healthier future.