Find Soothing Relief for Jaw Pain
Persistent jaw pain can interfere with your daily life, making it difficult to speak and chew while also putting your oral health at risk. Not only does jaw pain make simple daily living tasks a challenge, but it may also lead to further dental health problems like bruxism, or teeth grinding.
At Southern Cal Smiles, we understand how jaw pain can negatively impact your daily life, which is why TMJ specialist Dr. Fredericks offers expert TMJ disorder treatment that can help alleviate jaw pain and soreness.
Explore our guide to TMD to learn what causes this disorder and how we can help treat it. We proudly service the West Hills, Hidden Hills, Calabasas, and surrounding Southern California areas.
What Is TMJ Disorder?
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a muscle that connects the lower jaw to the skull, allowing us to move our jaw freely and bite down with force. However, when the jaw is put under extreme pressure, it may become inflamed and even damaged. If this pressure continues, you may develop symptoms of TMJ disorder.
TMD is typically the result of uneven pressure on your jawbone, which can cause severe pain. A weakened TMJ muscle can also make it difficult to move your jaw or bite down with force, making tasks like speaking or eating that much harder.
Causes of TMD
There’s a variety of factors that contribute to the development of TMD, which can make finding the exact cause of your case difficult to pinpoint. By receiving professional care from experts like Dr. Fredericks, she’ll work to determine the main cause of your jaw pain to provide effective treatment.
Some common causes of TMJ disorder include:
- Poor bite as a result of crooked teeth (malocclusion)
- Jaw dislocation
- Facial or dental trauma
- Joint cartilage damage from arthritis
- Chronic teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Displacement or erosion of joint’s disk
Symptoms of TMD
If you have any of the following symptoms, it’s likely an indication of a TMJ disorder. We recommend you schedule an appointment with our Woodland Hills dentist immediately if you experience:
- Chronic migraines
- Ringing in your ears
- Jaw popping and clicking
- Stiffness of the jaw
- Cracked teeth
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Persistent head, neck, shoulder, or jaw pain
Upon receiving a diagnosis of TMD, Dr. Fredericks will discuss several treatment strategies to try before recommending a surgical procedure. One possible TMJ dysfunction treatment involves neuromuscular dentistry, a branch of dentistry that’s founded on the belief that a healthy smile begins with a healthy function.
With neuromuscular dental treatment, our TMJ dentist Dr. Fredericks determines the optimal physiological position of the jaw by measuring the relaxed position of the head and neck muscles. She’ll then recommend treatments that work to realign the jaw.
Restorative Dental Work
Certain restorative dental treatments can help realign your jaw and alleviate painful TMD symptoms. This includes dental crowns, bridges, or implants. Using a digital scanner, Dr. Fredericks can examine your teeth and determine if these treatments will help relieve your TMJ issues. She can also use these scans to better plan your restorative dental treatment.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Dr. Fredericks may recommend oral appliance therapy to patients struggling with persistent jaw pain, especially at night. Treatment with retainers, mouthguards, or nightguards can help offset pressure on your jawbone.
Oral appliances can also help reduce certain causes of jaw pain, such as:
- Bruxism or teeth clenching
- Jaw misalignment
- Bone or joint diseases (like arthritis)
- Jaw injuries
At Southern Cal Smiles, we’ll provide you with a customized oral appliance to comfortably alleviate painful TMD symptoms. This treatment won’t get in the way of your daily life, providing you with an easy option to manage your TMD.
For patients experiencing frequent teeth clenching or bruxism, orthodontic treatments like ClearCorrect® may be able to help. Because these aligners are custom-made to straighten your teeth into place, this treatment can also reprogram your jaw muscles. As a result, you may experience a decrease in teeth clenching and bruxism as well as the overall pressure on your TMJ.
Will Insurance Cover TMJ Treatment?
Unfortunately, most insurance companies don’t cover the costs of TMJ treatment. We recommend contacting your dental insurance provider ahead of time to learn what your plan will cover. Dr. Fredericks will also provide you with an estimated treatment cost at your initial consultation, as well as how our affordable plans can help cover your treatment expenses.
Frequently Asked Questions
TMD rarely resolves on its own, so it’s crucial to seek treatment as soon as possible. If left untreated, the symptoms of this disorder can grow more severe, leading to chronic jaw pain and the possibility of requiring more invasive treatment.
You may also experience:
- Arthritis of the jaw
- Injury to the jaw
- Connective tissue diseases
- Extensive dental damage due to teeth grinding
- Gum recession due to teeth grinding
While the severity of this condition varies between patients, TMD can lead to chronic and painful symptoms if left untreated. These and other symptoms like headaches and cracked teeth can significantly impact your daily life. No matter how frequent your jaw pain is, it’s best to schedule an appointment at our Woodland Hills office by calling 818-346-3337. Dr. Fredericks will provide effective treatment to prevent any serious health complications.
If you find that you experience persistent jaw pain or soreness, it may be a sign of a TMJ disorder. Other accompanying symptoms like migraines, bruxism, and jaw stiffness may also indicate a disorder of this essential jaw muscle. Seeking treatment as soon as possible can help prevent more serious oral health problems and receive early intervention.