What Is TMJ Disorder and How Can a San Francisco Oral Surgeon Help?

SF Oral Surgery treats patients for a variety of concerns. Some have very obvious symptoms, like missing or damaged teeth. Others are more subtle but require care just as immediately. For San Francisco patients, TMJ disorder often falls into the latter category.

Understanding TMJ

The “TMJ” in TMJ disorder stands for temporomandibular joint. This refers to the joints in your jaw. Problems here may present symptoms in different ways, including:

  • Sore jaw muscles, headaches, and neck aches.
  • Pain from clenching your teeth.
  • A clicking or popping noise when you move your jaw.
  • Problems opening or closing your mouth or misaligned teeth.

If you grind your teeth, have injured your jaw, or are experiencing arthritis in other areas of your body, this may be behind the symptoms you’re having.

How We Help San Francisco TMJ Disorder Patients

Medication. Often, SF Oral Surgery recommends non-surgical options for TMJ disorder. Muscle spasms and joint pain often respond to pain relief medication, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxants. It’s important that you follow the guidance of your doctor with these medications because of their powerful effects.

Injections. During your visit, your doctor may inject medical steroids into the jaw. This approach can reduce inflammation and discomfort in a more direct way.

Self-treatment. There are techniques that you can use to alleviate your symptoms. Relax your jaw when you recognize that you are clenching it; a night guard can help with this problem during the evening. Also, you might consider a change in diet to softer foods so that your jaw joint has time to heal properly. Ice, heat, and special exercises can also prevent inflammation.

Surgery. Our practice will only recommend surgery for TMJ disorder in extreme cases and after we have considered other options. This might include situations where your jaw is severely damaged or won’t open.

Because of the variety of treatment methods, the best way to find out the right approach is to schedule an initial consultation with SF Oral Surgery.

Learn more about TMJ disorder. Call our San Francisco office at (415) 776-6710.