TMJ DIsorder

Are you experiencing TMJ pain?

Does it hurt when you chew or open your jaw wide? Do you have pain or soreness in front of the ear, in the jaw muscle, cheek, the teeth or the temples? Do you have pain or soreness in your teeth? Do your jaws make noises loud enough to bother you or others? Do you find it difficult to open your mouth wide? Does your jaw ever get stuck/locked as you open it?

If so, you likely have temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD or TMJD), which is commonly referred to as TMJ.  TMJD is a group of conditions, often painful, that affect the jaw joint.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, the most common cause of facial pain is TMJ Disorder (temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder). Symptoms of TMJ disorder may include jaw pain, clicking or popping in the jaw, headaches, and ear pain. Chiropractic treatment of TMJ Disorder can alleviate symptoms by correcting misalignments in the spine and re-positioning the jaw. Therapeutic exercises and improving posture also help to improve tracking and movement. We also utilize the Erchonia low level laser to dramatically improve healing in these damaged tissues.

Signs may include:

•Radiating pain in the face, neck, or shoulders
•Limited movement or locking of the jaw
•Painful clicking or grating when opening or closing the mouth
•A significant change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together
•Headaches, earaches, dizziness, hearing problems and difficulty swallowing

For most people, pain or discomfort in the jaw muscles or joints is temporary, often occurs in cycles, and resolves once you stop moving the area. Some people with TMJ pain, however, can develop chronic symptoms. We can help you establish whether your pain is due to TMD and can provide conservative treatment if needed.

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

Researchers agree that TMJ Disorder falls into three categories:

•Myofascial pain—discomfort or pain in the muscles of the jaw, neck, and shoulders;
•A dislocated jaw or displaced disc;
•Degenerative joint disease—rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis in the jaw joint.

Severe injury to the jaw is a leading cause of TMJ Disorder. For example, anything from a hit in the jaw during a sporting activity to overuse syndromes, such as chewing gum excessively or chewing on one side of the mouth too frequently, may cause TMJ Disorder.

Emotional stress can lead to TMJ Disorder, as well.  When people are under psychological stress, they may clench their teeth, which can be a major factor in their TMJ Disorder. Our approach helps people to better deal with stress. Using massage, low level laser, and nutritional interventions we can help to reduce clenching and loosen these muscles

TMJ Disorder Diagnosis and Treatment

Our process starts with a thorough examination. We assess your posture, the muscles connecting to the jaw, the alignment of the jaw, and use precise equipment to measure the movement of the jaw. Once we diagnose the issue, we can provide you with specific treatment. We start with techniques to relax all the tight muscles connecting to the jaw, including both the muscles on the outside of the jaw as well the muscles inside the mouth that control the jaw.

We also correct any abnormal posture in the neck as well as any misalignments in the upper neck. The position of the head and neck are intricately connected. With proper care and treatment of spinal disorders, TMJD patients can achieve pain relief and correction. Treatments enable the body to respond to dental changes so that care received from your oral health physician has greater results.

We may also recommend low level laser, special exercises and/or nutritional interventions. Our first goal is to relieve your pain and then we work to restore function to the jaw, facial muscles, and neck in order to prevent your symptoms from returning. If you need special appliances or splints we will work closely with your dentist or orthodontist for co-management.

If you suffer from TMJ pain and live in Orange County, please contact our office in Irvine so we can help you find lasting relief!