The symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of TMJ disorders in San Francisco

TMJ Disorders San Francisco - Dr. Arellano is happy to help patients in San Francisco to find options for TMJ disorder

It is estimated that over ten million Americans suffer from TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder. These small, triangular shaped joints are situated just in front of the ears. They are lined with cartilage, so they move easily with a smooth gliding motion when they are functioning correctly.

These joints are responsible for the up and down and side-to-side movements that allow functions such as chewing, speaking, yawning, and swallowing. When problems prevent the complex system of bones, discs, ligaments, and muscles from functioning properly, it can result in painful TMJ disorder.

Fortunately, San Francisco dentist, Dr. Leo Arellano and his highly trained team can help patients find relief from this discomfort. The process begins with recognizing the signs of this disorder.


  • Pain radiating from the jaw, face, ear, or neck
  • Pain in the jaw joint or chewing muscles
  • Locking of the jaw, limited movement, or stiff jaw muscles
  • Changes in the bite (the way the teeth meet when the mouth is closed)
  • Grating, popping, or clicking in the joints, especially when opening and closing the mouth. In some cases the noise is accompanied by pain, but not always
  • Swelling in the side of the face
  • A feeling of facial fatigue
We are here to help Call us at 415-881-4343 or Schedule an Appointment today


Dr. Arellano will conduct a thorough examination and review of patient history because other conditions such as gum disease, toothache, arthritis and sinus problems can cause symptoms similar to TMJ disorder. There isn’t a standard test for diagnosis. The doctor will examine the jaws, face, neck, and head, and he may have panoramic x-rays taken in order to view the jaws, joints, and teeth to facilitate an accurate diagnosis. The doctor will recommend the most conservative treatment options.


  • Eating soft foods
  • Avoiding chewing gum, biting fingernails, or chewing on hard substances such as ice
  • Using heat packs to reduce pain
  • Reducing stress through relaxation techniques
  • Avoiding yawning widely or other extreme jaw movements
  • Jaw muscle strengthening exercises
  • Analgesic, anti-inflammatory, or anti-anxiety medications
  • A dental appliance to reduce bruxism (clenching and grinding teeth)
  • Orthodontic treatment, if needed to correct malocclusion

Call 415-881-4343 for an appointment, our office is conveniently located at 3030 Geary Blvd. San Francisco, CA 94118

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Addressing gum recession with gum grafting and the Pinhole® Surgical Technique

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Patient Reviews
Image Of Dolores E

I've been going to Dr. Arellano for about 20 years and I continue because of the excellent care and treatment I get with him and his whole office team. He is both professional and personable.
Recently I had a newer technique of gum surgery/grafting at his office called, "Pinhole Surgical Technique of gum grafting." I personally found this to be much easier to handle than the other style of gum grafting that I received years ago for the other side of my mouth. That worked, it was where part of my roof of my mouth was cut and surgically sewn onto the gum. However, I much prefer the pinhole technique. It was actually the easiest dental work I've had (beyond regular cleaning.) It didn't take too long and it didn't feel uncomfortable getting it done. I was swollen, but I think that happens regardless of what kind of gum grafting is done. I needed ibuprofin for a few days, no major pain. It healed well and just felt easy. I am not a fan of having any work done in my mouth because that's me, but this was the easiest work I've ever had done.
So, if you are debating which kind of surgery to do I personally would recommend the pinhole surgery.

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Patient Reviews
Image Of Laura V

We've gone to Dr Arellano for many years and have never been disappointed with any of the work he's done. Recently my husband broke a tooth and Leo got him in and had the tooth repaired within a few short hours. Service like that is very hard to finds these days. His office staff is fantastic. Nice people you are always glad to see. I would highly recommend Dr Arellano to anyone who is searching for an honest, competent, well trained dentist.

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Patient Reviews
Image Of Steve G

I recently had a dental implant procedure performed by Dr. Arellano.
I could not be more pleased with the results. From the initial consultation to insertion of the implants, Dr. Arellano made this entire procedure understandable, easy, & pain-free !!
Highly recommend this professional dentist.

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