TMJ disorders can cause jaw pain, explains San Francisco, CA dentist
While many patients think of their dentist when they need a cavity filled or their teeth cleaned, San Francisco, CA dentist Dr. Leo Arellano can also offer other important services and treatments for a range of conditions with the jaw and mouth. For patients who have jaw pain and locking caused by TMJ disorders, Dr. Arellano offers diagnostic services and treatment options to help provide relief.
What does TMJ stand for?
TMJ is an acronym for the temporomandibular joint. This joint hinges the upper and lower jaw open and closed and also moves the jaw side-to-side and front-to-back movements, enabling the jaw to have a wide range of motion necessary for eating and speaking. When this joint has become inflamed or painful, it is called TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder. The joint and the surrounding muscles can become painful and impact your daily life. Patients with TMJ disorders may experience:
- Popping and clicking of the TMJ
- Bruxism (clenching and grinding of the teeth during day or night)
- Muscle pain surrounding the TMJ
- Locking of the jaw joint in either the open or closed position
How do I get a diagnosis?
A proper diagnosis of this condition is required to learn more about the solutions available. With care and attention, most patients can improve the health of the joint and, in turn, enhance their quality of life. During an evaluation, Dr. Leo Arellano will ask a variety of questions to get an understanding of the symptoms you are experiencing in your daily life. An examination may include both a physical exam and an evaluation of the joint and jaw with dental x-rays or other types of imaging. Once the condition has been diagnosed, we will discuss your treatment options.
Treatment for TMJ disorders
For some patients, simple lifestyle changes may be all that is necessary to alleviate pain in the TMJ, such as avoiding chewing hard objects. Jaw pain and other complications may be relieved with the use of an oral appliance, which patients can wear at night to cushion tension and protect the teeth from clenching and grinding. In severe cases, patients may require jaw surgery, though conservative options are considered first and foremost.
Are you interested in learning more about the treatment of TMJ disorders?
Contact Dr. Leo Arellano at his San Francisco, CA practice by calling 415-881-4343 and requesting an appointment. His practice is always accepting new patients seeking preventive, general, cosmetic, and restorative dentistry care.