San Francisco TMJ Disorder

TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder refers to a set of problems related to the joints of your jaw. Some of the most noticeable symptoms that occur when you move the jaw are:

  • Pain
  • “Clicking” sound
  • Locking up in an open or closed position

Typically, TMJ disorder occurs when the joints and the chewing muscles don’t work together correctly. SF Oral Surgery helps San Francisco TMJ disorder patients to rehabilitate and heal from the condition. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact SF Oral Surgery for an initial consultation to receive a diagnosis and begin treatment to relieve discomfort.

Do You Have TMJ Disorder?

A common misdiagnosis for TMJ disorder is tension headaches. While both of these conditions cause pain in the same place (the area where the temporal bone connects to the jaw), treatment is very different. The causes of TMJ disorder are well documented and include: 

  • Clenching or grinding your teeth repetitively.
  • Keeping your jaw muscles tight, which can stress the TM joint.
  • Having an injury or a disease that damages your jaw joint.
  • Developing arthritis

Each of these causes has a related set of symptoms you may not yet have recognized. SF Oral Surgery has compiled a list of questions to help you identify symptoms to seek the right treatment for your condition.

Self Exam for TMJ Disorder

The first step to seeking treatment for TMJ is understanding common problems caused by TMJ. San Francisco patients who answer yes to one or more of the following questions may have TMJ disorder:

  • Do you wake up with sore, stiff muscles around your jaw?
  • Do you have frequent headaches or neck aches?
  • Does the pain get worse when you clench your teeth?
  • Does stress make your jaw clenching and pain worse?
  • Does your jaw click, pop, grate, catch, or lock when you open your mouth?
  • Have you ever injured your neck, head, or jaw?
  • Have you had problems (such as arthritis) with other joints?
  • Are your teeth sensitive, loose, broken, or worn?
  • Do your teeth meet differently from time to time?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should speak with your general physician or oral surgeon for a conclusive diagnosis.

What to Expect as a San Francisco TMJ Disorder Patient

SF Oral Surgery invites you to our practice for an initial consultation. We’ll conduct an examination and talk with you about your symptoms to determine whether you have TMJ disorder. Based on what we find, our oral surgeons offer various treatment options to improve your jaw’s function, such as:

  • Pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, or a muscle relaxant to alleviate muscle spasms and joint pain.
  • Steroid injection into the joints for more direct treatment to reduce pain and inflammation.
  • Everyday at-home care that can significantly improve your discomfort.

Most San Francisco patients will not require more invasive procedures and find relief immediately after beginning treatment.

Caring for Your TMJ Disorder at Home

To maintain your comfort and progress with treatment, there are several steps that you can take to improve your symptoms. Our oral surgeons typically recommend:

  • Resting your jaw.
  • Keeping your teeth apart when you are not swallowing or eating.
  • Eating softer foods.
  • Applying ice and heat.
  • Exercising your jaw.
  • Practicing good posture.
  • Using stress management techniques.
  • Wearing a night guard to prevent clenching, grinding, and muscle tension.

Surgery for TMJ Disorder in San Francisco

SF Oral Surgery patients only require surgery if you have undergone an unsuccessful appliance treatment or if your jaw can’t open, is dislocated and not reducible, or has severe degeneration.

If we recommend a surgical procedure, treatments include:

  • Bite adjustment (equilibration).
  • Orthodontics with or without jaw reconstruction.
  • Restorative dental work.

Fortunately, many San Francisco patients find relief from their symptoms without surgery. Come for an initial consultation, and our oral surgeons will help you make the right decision for your treatment.

Learn whether you have TMJ disorder and what you can do about it. Call SF Oral Surgery’s San Francisco office at (415) 776-6710.