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Temporal Mandibular Disorder Specialist

South County Sleep Solutions

Dental Sleep Medicine located in Newport Beach, CA

As many as 10 million people in the United States are dealing with persistent jaw and facial pain due to temporomandibular disorder (TMD). At South County Sleep Solutions in Newport Beach, California, Dr. Dana Rockey offers customized, nonsurgical solutions to treat temporomandibular disorder. Dr. Rockey focuses on reducing your risk factors for long-term jaw damage and helps you find relief of jaw and facial pain with no need for invasive treatments. Schedule a consultation to learn more about available treatments for temporomandibular disorder by calling South County Sleep Solutions today.

Temporal Mandibular Disorder Q & A

What is temporomandibular disorder?

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) affects the two joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull. These joints rotate and slide in front of your ears to allow you to move your jaw up and down, side to side, and forward and backward.

Properly aligned joints ensure you can chew, talk, and swallow easily and without discomfort. However, when the temporomandibular joints are out of alignment, it can lead to severe jaw and facial pain.

If not properly treated, the condition can progress and cause a dislocation of your jaw. You may also experience damage to the cushioning cartilage between the joint bones. For some, there’s an increased risk for developing degenerative joint disease, like osteoarthritis, in the jaw, which can interfere with speaking and chewing.  

What causes temporomandibular disorder?

The root cause of temporomandibular disorder isn’t always known. You may develop misalignments in your jaw joints because of excess strain that occurs when talking or chewing.

Many people develop TMD because of bruxism, a condition that describes a constant grinding or clenching of the teeth. You may also develop a temporomandibular disorder because of trauma to your jaw, neck, or mouth.

Those who have underlying health issues, like irritable bowel syndrome or fibromyalgia, may notice that their condition worsens their TMD symptoms.

What are the symptoms of temporomandibular disorder?

The most common signs of TMD are persistent soreness or pain in the jaw, especially when you wake up in the morning. Other common side effects of TMD include:

  • Headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Earaches
  • Locked jaw
  • Popping or clicking sensations in the jaw

Those with bruxism may experience increased sensitivity in their teeth or changes in the way their upper and lower teeth come together.

How is temporomandibular disorder treated?

To ease the pain of TMD, Dr. Rockey focuses on nonsurgical therapies. He may initially recommend resting your jaw as much as possible and using over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories.

You may also benefit from learning relaxation techniques to reduce the strain on your jaw joints, and physical therapy to strengthen the muscles that support your jaw.

Dr. Rockey can recommend the use of an oral appliance, like a mouthguard, to reduce the damage that clenching and grinding your teeth can cause.

The available nutritional counseling services can also play a role in treating TMD pain by ensuring your body has the right nutrients to prevent inflammation that contributes to jaw and facial pain.

To schedule a diagnostic evaluation for symptoms of a temporomandibular disorder, call South County Sleep Solutions today.