If your jaw is constantly hurting or chewing is painful, you may fall within the 5%-12% of the population that has a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. At Torok Orthodontics, the team can help determine whether or not you have the disorder and find a suitable treatment for your case. At their two convenient locations in Santa Monica and in the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, the team offers several treatment options that will allow you to eat and speak comfortably again. Call or schedule an appointment online today.

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What is the temporomandibular joint?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your upper jaw, or maxilla, to your lower jaw, or mandible. The joints are located on both sides and act as a hinge, opening and closing your mouth. They are made up of muscles and ligaments in your face, head, and neck that work together to create the movement that allows you to chew and speak. 

A disc lies between the bones of the joint, acting as a flexible cushion to prevent the discomfort of bones rubbing together.

What is TMJ disorder?

TMJ disorders are characterized by pain in and around your jaw and can be caused by a variety of abnormalities and injuries. Your jaw might also be locked into place with severe pain upon movement. Sometimes the cause is unclear, while other cases are cut and dry because of a traumatic injury. Common causes of TMJ disorder include but aren’t limited to:

  • Erosion of the disc
  • Out-of-place disc
  • Joint damage from impact
  • Arthritis
  • Chronic teeth grinding
  • Diseased tissue

The team at Torok Orthodontics will assess your symptoms and medical history to determine the likely cause of your TMJ disorder. The practice has state-of-the-art equipment such as the iCAT CBCT system, which creates detailed 3D X-rays of your mouth that can help the team accurately diagnose your condition if you have TMJ disorder. This will help them create a personalized treatment plan that best suits your needs.

What treatments are available?

There are several options for the treatment and pain management of a TMJ disorder. If your case was caused by another disease, like arthritis, treating the disease will help ease the pain in your temporomandibular joint. Treatments and remedies specific to TMJ pain include:

  • Heat packs
  • Nighttime mouth guards and bite plates
  • Prescribed medications (muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory drugs)
  • Physical therapy
  • Relaxation techniques
  • Surgery

Your treatment plan will depend on the cause and severity of your TMJ disorder. In order to best treat your case, Dr. Torok may need to view the joint with an X-ray or TMJ arthroscope (small inserted camera).

If you’re feeling pain that isn’t going away or are having trouble moving your jaw, contact Torok Orthodontics to see if you have a TMJ disorder and get the treatment you need.