TMJ Treatment in San Francisco

Sunset Dentistry offers treatment for TMJ disorder in San Francisco, CA. If you are experiencing jaw pain or discomfort when chewing or talking, talk with our dentist about the diagnosis and treatment for TMJ disorder.

What is the Temporomandibular Joint?

The temporomandibular joint is a small joint located in front on each side of the head. This joint connects the lower jawbone to the skull. When the jaws move up and down, the temporal bone moves up and down with it. In addition, the mandible (lower jaw) rotates around the zygomatic arch, which is attached to the skull.

A normal bite involves the movement of both the upper and lower teeth against one another. However, some people experience pain or discomfort when chewing, talking, yawning, smiling, laughing, or even drinking cold liquids. This may indicate a TMJ disorder.

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Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments in San Francisco, CA

TMJ disorders are usually associated with stress, tension, poor sleep habits, and fatigue. In some cases, there is no clear cause, although it is often linked to bruxism (teeth clenching or grinding).

TMJ disorders can also be caused by:

Damage or displacement of the temporomandibular joint

A connective tissue disorder

Damage to the cartilage lining of the TMJ due to arthritis

Injury to the TMJ joint due to facial trauma

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder may include:

Pain or tenderness in the face, neck, shoulders, back, arms, hands, legs, or feet

Difficulty sleeping due to pain

Difficulty chewing

Headaches

Damage or displacement of the temporomandibular joint

Tenderness in the muscles surrounding the jaw

Experiencing one or more of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a TMJ disorder, but you should schedule a visit with our dentist to find out the root cause of your symptoms. We can create a treatment plan that works for you.

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Diagnosing TMJ Disorder

Your dentist will likely ask questions about how long you’ve been experiencing symptoms, what makes it worse, and whether there are particular activities that make it better. You’ll most likely be asked about your medical history, including any injuries or surgeries.

They’ll conduct an oral exam to observe the range of motion in your jaw. They may ask you to open and close your mouth several times while they observe or feel your jaw. They may press on certain points on or around your jaw to identify pain or discomfort that comes from putting pressure on the jaw.

If your dentist thinks something might be wrong, they may recommend further testing like x-rays or a CT scan.

Treatment Options for TMJ Disorders

If your dentist does diagnose you with a TMJ disorder, the good news is, most of the time the pain is temporary and can be relieved, either with non-surgical treatments or a surgical procedure, in extreme cases. Surgery will be used as a last resort if no other treatment options are effective.

Non-Surgical Treatments

Your dentist will likely start by recommending some non-surgical treatments to alleviate TMJ pain:

medication

joint rest

physical therapy

a soft-food diet

stress reduction techniques

alternating hot or cold packs

BOTOX® Therapy for TMJ Treatment

Yes, you read that correctly. While you may associate Botox injections with reducing facial lines and wrinkles, it is also an effective treatment for TMJ disorders. The injection relaxes the muscle spasms that occur during a TMJ disorder, allowing the jaw joints to move freely again.

Botox is a safe and effective way to treat TMJ disorders. It’s injected into the area where the muscles attach to the skull, which helps reduce the tightness and stiffness of those muscles. Once the muscles are relaxed, the jaw joints can move freely again.

Surgical Treatment

In rare cases, your dentist may recommend surgery as a last resort to treat TMJ disorders. If no other treatment options are effective, Dr. Morghen will discuss surgical options with you. She can explain all of your options and help you decide which option best fits your needs.

Contact Us for Cosmetic Dentistry in San Francisco

If you are unhappy with the appearance of your teeth, contact our office in San Fransisco today for a consultation. We can discuss the services we offer and how they can benefit you. Our team is dedicated to providing quality care and helping you achieve the smile you have always wanted.