What is TMJ and what causes it? Speak to Los Angeles dental practice about diagnosis and treatment

By

Dr. Don Mungcal of Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles patients seeking quality oral health services and treatment are welcome to contact the team of Downtown Dental. Dr. Don Mungcal and his staff are committed to helping patients achieve beautiful, healthy smiles—and smiles that do not impact their quality of life. When conditions such as TMJ disorder (TMD) become an issue, patients need to start working with a professional who can provide solutions.

What is TMJ/TMD?

TMJ is short for “temporomandibular joint.” This is the jaw joint that is used to hinge the lower jaw to the skull, so it can open and close for eating and speaking. There are times when patients may experience dysfunction of this joint and the surrounding muscles. This can result in issues such as:
  • Pain from the shoulders to the ears
  • Chronic discomfort
  • Clicking and popping of the jaw joint
  • Soreness around the cheek area to the ears
  • Damage to the natural teeth from clenching and grinding
  • Locking jaw joints

When these issues occur, it is essential that patients get a proper diagnosis to discuss treatment. The chronic problems may indicate TMD, or temporomandibular disorder. This is a constant or permanent malfunction of the joint and muscles that contribute to an ongoing problem for patients — and treatment options need to be seriously discussed with a professional.

Call our office for more information
Contact Us at 213-863-9464

What causes it?

TMJ/TMD does not have a specific cause. It is not known to be genetic or be linked to any specific condition that may increase one’s risk of experiencing it. However, thanks to proper diagnosis, patients can speak to their dentist about treatment options to control the condition and reduce pain and discomfort. This will improve a patient’s overall quality of life.

How is the condition treated?

Treatment for TMD typically starts with oral appliance therapy. This is the use of a specialized mouth guard made for a patient to wear during the night or day to help align the jaw and reduce the pressure that can be caused from the condition. Pressure and tightness can cause the muscles to become fatigued and painful. While wearing the oral appliance, this can greatly reduce pain and discomfort. This can be done in conjunction with neuromuscular exercises that help strengthen the muscles around the jaw and reduce the chances of associated problems. In very severe cases, patients may be referred to a specialist who can provide jaw surgery if the problem cannot be resolved with the use of oral appliance therapy and neuromuscular exercises.

Why treat TMD?

Dr. Don Mungcal and his staff are committed to helping patients achieve beautiful, healthy smiles
The discomfort caused by this condition can become chronic and troublesome. It can be difficult for patients to get through the day without pain or experiencing jaws locking. This can greatly reduce their quality of life, causing patients to live with pain and discomfort. Instead, with treatment, patients can reduce or eliminate the need for pain relievers to mask the problem. Patients who treat TMJ/TMD may also enjoy the benefits of stronger, healthier teeth. This is because many patients who have the condition also have bruxism – clenching and grinding of the teeth. When this happens, it can wear down the natural enamel on the teeth and permanently damage them. Additionally, patients who have restorations such as bridges or crowns may notice their restorations are constantly breaking or cracking and require replacement. This is sometimes an indication that bruxism exists, and a dentist such as Dr. Don Mungcal will be able to notice when this is becoming a chronic problem. With proper treatment, patients can maintain their smile and enjoy comfort every day.

What if oral appliance therapy doesn’t work for me?

Oral appliance therapy has a high success rate, but there are patients who may still require jaw surgery or even orthodontic treatment to align the jaw and permanently treat the condition.

Schedule a visit with Dr. Don Mungcal today!

Call our practice to learn more about the advantages of diagnosis and treatment of TMJ/TMD for improved quality of life. Our front office team can be reached to make an appointment by calling 213-863-9464 and our practice, Downtown Dental, is conveniently located at 55 South Grand Avenue, Ste. 204.


  • Dr. Don Mungcal
  • Dr. Ghalambor
  • Dr. Elizabeth Loftus
As the cornerstone and founder of Downtown Dental, Dr. Don Mungcal is a proactive and exceptionally talented dentist who is determined to contribute to the health and wellbeing of his community by attending to their dental care needs.

With over 28 years of experience and service, Dr. Mungcal makes it his responsibility to be the best version of himself by being his patients’ go-to point for any and all dental concerns. In addition to being meticulous in his work ethic, he is also an individual who understands development and change. He updates and informs himself constantly through various continuous educational programs that he undertakes. He also invests in the latest state-of-the-art technology to provide world-class dental services.

Dr. Mungcal graduated from UCLA and the University of the Pacific Dental School and is presently a member of several acclaimed medical associations, including the California Dental Society.

One of the three pillars of Downtown Dental, Dr. Ghalambor is recognized for his commitment to preventive dentistry and ensuring that his patients have a positive attitude towards oral health and dental care.

Upon graduating from Hope International University and USC, he continues to provide his patients with genuine and quality treatment. His passion for dentistry goes beyond the title of a dentist and is more than just a job to him. Dr. Ghalambor has spent his time on international humanitarian visits to rural areas in countries where he assisted in providing complimentary dental services for poverty-stricken communities.

His commitment and passion are what makes him stand out amongst his colleagues as a dental professional.

Dr. Elizabeth Loftus is a qualified dentist from Sacramento who truly loves the art of dentistry and helping people with their oral health and dental needs. She pursued her higher education at USC, where her initial area of focus was biomedical engineering.

However, after an internship undertaken at a dental office, she came to the realization that dentistry was her true calling, and then onwards dedicated her time and energy to serving dental care patients to the best of her ability.

She is an advocate for positive dental experiences for her patients and making sure they always are relaxed and calm whenever they undergo dental procedures.

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Success Stories

The staff here on its own deserves the five stars. Everyone is so friendly and take there time to get to know you as a patient. There very easy to work with on what’s best for you in the long run with insurance and dental care. On top of them making you feel comfortable, you can tell that they actually care about you and your dental health. The parking is also super easy and they validate so you don’t have to pay. I’d highly recommend coming here!
I am so glad I came to Downtown Dental. From the moment I walked into the office I was met with a smile and a warm welcome. During my first visit, a dental plan was made for me and they got to work right away. I have never experienced such attention to detail and such excellent customer service at a dental office. During my root canal procedure and fillings everyone was extremely helpful and constantly making sure I was comfortable. Since then, I am encouraging everyone to check out Downtown Dental, they really are amazing.
Best experience I have ever had in 40 plus years of Dentist visits. Crazy friendly people, every last one of them. Such a pleasant experience. If you need a Dentist this is the place to go. The Doctor is awesome as well.
This place has been my dentist my whole life and I won't consider going anywhere else. Everyone is nice and accommodating and the doctor knows his stuff. I just had pinhole gum rejuvenation surgery and the results are awesome. The staff really looks out for your best interest and the doctor will assure you have a great smile...pain free too..
If your looking for a Dental office that does good quality and precise work . With care and a gentle touch . then Downtown Dental is the place for you ! I got an extraction here and they made me feel comfortable and always checked to see how I was feeling and doing ! Dr. Mungcal is easily one of the best dentist in LA.
Most updated equipment ive ever seen in a dental office, pain less wisdom teeth extraction and comfortable throughout the entire process. Dr.Mungcal, Lali and the entire staff make a great team!! Thank you Downtown Dental!!
Amazing staff, efficient, professional, and all around incredible! We love the technology they have right in their office making our appointments time effective. Dr. Mungcal and his crew are amazing!
The staff is very knowledgeable and professional. My experience here is always great! Couldn't be happier
I have been going to downtown dental for years and I just can't recommend them enough. Priyam and Sussie are extra amazing, as is the entire team there!
Absolutely amazing experience at Downtown Dental! The staff is so kind and really welcome you in. Overall the dental care has been incredible and I highly, highly recommend coming here for any dental need.

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