It is common to feel some occasional tightness in your jaw. However, when the tightness becomes painful or if it lasts more than a few days, you may have a condition known as TMJ. TMJ refers to a joint (the temporomandibular joint) on your mouth that connects the lower jaw to your skull. When this joint is misaligned, it can cause pain in the jaw, especially when chewing or biting. It can even cause a clicking sound, jaw lock, headaches, or ringing in the ear.
Many factors contribute to TMJ. Examples include clenching or grinding the jaw which can overwork the joint or change the alignment of your bite. Some people clench their jaw or grind their teeth when they are stressed or angry, others do that subconsciously, or even while sleeping.
If you live in the Los Angeles, CA, area and are feeling pain in your jaw or any of the other symptoms described above, call Dr. Don Mungcal of Downtown Dental. Dr. Mungcal can help treat TMJ and thereby eliminate the symptoms.
In order to completely treat TMJ, Dr. Mungcal must first understand your individual symptoms and the underlying cause. In some cases, the treatment can simply be to rest the jaw for a few days by eating soft foods, being careful when yawning, and not opening the mouth very wide. Dr. Mungcal may also suggest changing your eating habits and finding healthy ways to reduce your stress levels to stop clenching of the jaw.
If your TMJ is caused by inadvertent grinding or clenching, he will fit you for an oral appliance to be worn while you are sleeping. This non-surgical option is effective for many TMJ patients. Each appliance is created from professional-grade, comfortable plastic. The appliance protects the teeth from wear caused by grinding and helps to relieve muscle tension in the mouth.
However, if your TMJ is caused by severe misalignment, Dr. Mungcal may recommend orthodontic treatment or surgery to realign your bite.
Regardless of the reason for your TMJ, you can trust Dr. Mungcal and the entire team at Downtown Dental to take their time and identify the triggers of your pain and determine the least invasive treatment plan. Don’t live with jaw pain; call Downtown Dental today to schedule a consultation.