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Frequent and persistent jaw pain can become seriously detrimental to anyone. After all, the last thing you want to hear while you eat or speak is snapping and cracking coming from your jaw joints. Still, millions of people are affected by conditions under the umbrella of “TMJ disorders.” At Inspire Smiles, we strive to improve all areas of your dental health, and we are proud to offer TMJ specialist services in Solana Beach. Let’s learn more about TMJ and how we can help

What is TMJ?

TMJ is the abbreviation used to refer to the temporomandibular joint. This joint sits at the point where your jaw meets your skull and has the vital function of operating like a hinge that allows you to open and close your mouth. The TMJ is pivotal in facilitating several essential functions, such as eating and speaking.  

What is a TMJ Disorder?

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) refers to several conditions affecting the jaw, TMJ, and surrounding muscle structures. These disorders can manifest in various ways, but most commonly, it feels like persistent soreness, pain, and stiffness.  

What are the Causes of TMD?

Because TMD can result from several conditions, doctors have not been able to isolate a single cause for the disorder. A thorough examination can reveal underlying conditions that may lead to this ailment and pinpoint possible triggers. 

TMD can result from anything from arthritis to sleep apnea to just stress. Patients afflicted by bruxism (teeth grinding) often develop the condition. If you are struggling with the symptoms of TMD, your first step should be to visit your TMJ specialist in Solana Beach and discuss your options.  

What are the Symptoms of TMD?

Symptoms of TMD can be wide-ranging since the condition can stem from several issues. Some of the most common symptoms include: 

Unusual Sounds Coming from Your Jaw 

Patients suffering from TMD frequently report odd sounds when they move their mouths. This can be grating, popping, or clicking, which often results from shifting of the disk inside the TMJ. In some cases, the sound can be loud enough that other people in your proximity can hear it. 

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Muscle Pain 

Muscle pain stemming from TMD is often felt on the cheeks, where the large jaw-closing muscles reside. This pain and soreness is likely the result of clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth in your sleep.  

Other Common Symptoms of TMD

  • Aches and tenderness in the jaw

  • Discomfort on either side of the jaw 

  • Ear pain 

  • Difficulty eating or speaking  

  • Facial soreness or discomfort  

  • Lockjaw 

When Should I Visit a TMJ Specialist in Solana Beach?

If you are experiencing frequent pain or discomfort, that is a sign you should visit a healthcare provider. The longer you allow the problem to persist, the more serious the issue can become. In extreme cases, not seeking treatment can impede your ability to speak or eat altogether. 

How is TMD Treated?

Treatment for this condition will vary depending on the severity. To immediately relieve pain or discomfort, your TMJ specialist in Solana Beach might recommend some simple remedies like cold presses, over-the-counter painkillers, or anti-inflammatory.  

For longer-term treatment, your dentist might recommend more comprehensive treatment to prevent the possible causes of your TMD. One of the most popular treatment options is prescription mouthguards to avoid clenching your teeth at night. In rare cases, TMJ disorders might call for corrective jaw surgeries. Ultimately, your diagnosis and treatment will be a joint decision between you and your healthcare provider.  

Are You Looking for a TMJ Specialist in Solana Beach, California?

Don’t force yourself to keep living with pain and discomfort! Get the treatment you need today and start feeling comfortable again. Give our team a call today to learn more about our TMJ treatment options, or schedule a consultation if you are ready to get started.  

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