TMJ San Francisco

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

TMJ San Francisco

Millions of Americans suffer from TMJ and craniofacial disorders. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. It is the joint that connects the lower jawbone to the skull. The human TMJ’s and jaw is essentially a lever system, complex in structure. Unfortunately this system is not ideal in design, often inefficient and subject to problems. TMJ disorder management is included in the larger group of managing Craniofacial Pain disorders, extending not only to the jaw, but the greater head, neck, shoulder and back structures that are neurologically linked to the jaw, but can present as facial pain.

If you have any of these symptoms or have questions please call our office to schedule a TMJ consultation appointment for a complete exam and a review of your options.

Symptoms associated with this disorder include one or more of the following:

  • Chronic headaches and migraines
  • Pain and ringing in the ears
  • Vertigo (dizziness)
  • Sore/painful facial muscles
  • Pain and/or stiffness in the neck, shoulder, and back
  • Sleep Breathing Disorders
  • Chronic Pain

If you have any of these symptoms or have questions please call our office to schedule a TMJ consultation appointment for a complete exam and a review of your options.

These symptoms are often so severe thus disabling one from normal daily activities and altering one’s quality of life.

Many of these symptoms are a result of poorly aligned teeth and an unbalanced “bad” bite.
A bad bite can be caused by one or more of the following:

  • Clenching/grinding teeth
  • Trauma
  • Misaligned teeth
  • Underdeveloped Jaws

In these circumstances, the TMJ and muscles have to work harder to bring teeth together in order to function properly. There is also a tendency for excessive subconscious clenching and/or grinding during the day and night while trying to find balance in the bite. As a result, teeth wear down and can fracture, the TMJ joints can slowly degenerate and surrounding muscles become strained and fatigued. Signs of a TMJ disorder can include popping and clicking in the jaw joints, limited opening with pain, and narrow jaws and crowded teeth.

We offer a safe, non-surgical approach to rapid & long-lasting relief from orofacial pain and TMJ disorders.

TMJ disorder management is included in the larger group of managing Craniofacial Pain disorders, extending not only to the jaw, but the greater head, neck, shoulder and back structures that are neurologically linked to the jaw, but can present as facial pain.

What Causes TMJ?

There are many factors which can cause or contribute to TMJ disorders. They include trauma – any blow to the head or chin, whiplash injury, poor posture, abnormal bite (malocclusion), arthritis and hereditary growth and development factors which contribute to skeletal malformation. Stress at work or home also has an impact on existing TMJ disorders. Muscle strain and spasm begin when the discs becomes displaced. Early signs of a TMJ disorder usually include clicking or popping noises. More severe displacements can be very painful. If left untreated, permanent change can result.

Often proper treatment can alleviate months or years of pain and suffering. Treatments vary considerably with each individual patient and may include fabrication and fitting of precise, custom-fitted orthotic appliance (sometimes called “splints”) to realign and stabilize the jaw joint, restore comfort, and improve jaw function, and allow healing to occur non-surgically.

San Francisco TMJ and Sleep Apnea Dentist Dr. Larson strives to achieve a balanced bite (occlusion) to relieve acute and chronic Head, Jaw and Facial Pain. Treatment might include fabrication of occlusal decompression orthotics to appropriately reposition the jaw and muscles to reduce clenching/grinding, physical medicine including Cold Laser, Ultrasound, TENS, Trigger Point injections, Prolotherapy, chronic pain nutrition and screening for Sleep Breathing Disorders (SBD) which can cause sleep bruxism.

To learn more about the TMJ and Sleep Apnea Treatments and Services we provide or to schedule an appointment, please contact your San Francisco Center For TMJ & Sleep Apnea expert Dr. Larson Today at (415) 872-5116

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