The temporomandibular joints, called TMJ or TMD, are the joints and jaw muscles that make it possible to open and close your mouth. Located on each side of the head, your TMJ work together when you chew, speak or swallow and include muscles and ligaments as well as the jaw bone. They also control the lower jaw as it moves forward, backward and side-to-side. Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working properly may result in a painful TMJ disorder.
Diagnosis is an important step before treatment.
If you have a problem with your TMJs, you may be experiencing
- Problems associated with your jaw joint – clicking, popping or difficulty moving.
- Pain emanating from your jaw joint.
- Sore muscles, usually in the temple or cheek areas – headaches can be actually caused by muscle soreness.
- Problems with your teeth, including: loose teeth, sore teeth, excessively worn teeth, and loss of bone support.
- Ear problems, such as hissing or ringing, ear pain, earache, vertigo, or dizziness.
Dr. Gary Grablin is an expert in TMJ problem diagnosis and treatment because he spent 3 years in the UCSF TMJ Clinic. He is also a Gnathologist, a dentist who specializes in the biological mechanisms of mastication (chewing), speech, deglutition (swallowing) and facial expression. During the diagnostic process, he will be able to determine if your bite or the contact between your teeth may be contributing to your TMJ issues. Dr. Grablin can treat your TMJ symptoms in several ways, depending on the severity and cause of your symptoms:
Addressing your pain – Alleviate the pain in your TMJ through a combination of heat and cold therapy, anti-inflammatory medications and diet.
Creating a perfectly fitting splint and/or night guard – A night guard is a plastic mouthpiece that fits over your upper teeth so that your upper and lower teeth don’t touch. A night guard lessens the effects of clenching or grinding and allows your teeth and TMJ joint to find a more balanced position. A splint is synonymous with a night guard. A properly fitted night guard or splint provides a reversible correction of your bite. It is very important that these are fitted correctly to avoid additional future damage.
Fixing an uneven bite – In some cases, Dr. Grablin may recommend fixing an uneven bite by adjusting or reshaping some teeth, crowns, bridges or through orthodontics.
If you are interested in TMJ treatment, Gary A. Grablin DDS, looks forward to helping you. Please call: (415) 454-3222 to set up an appointment.