The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is the place where your jaw attaches to your skull to let you open your jaw smoothly. Sometimes the TMJ can be damaged or injured, which causes a debilitating condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder or dysfunction (TMD). If you're having pain or hearing sounds whenever you open your jaw, then schedule an appointment with general dentist Dr. Nick Dovey to see if you have TMD. At his office, Finest City Dental in San Diego, CA, Dr. Dovey utilizes innovative tools to assess and care for your TMD and alleviate your symptoms. Your TMJ treatment will depend on the cause of your disorder and your particular condition, but some popular options are oral appliances (night or mouth guards), bite alteration, dental restorations, and much more.
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction could be brought about by an injury to the jaw, years of jaw clenching and teeth grinding (bruxism), or dental malocclusion (misalignment of the teeth). Other conditions that can result in TMD include a tumor in the temporomandibular joint or arthritis. Sometimes the reason behind TMD cannot be determined, but if you're exhibiting symptoms and signs, Dr. Dovey can diagnose and care for your TMJ. A few of the most typical signs of TMD are tenderness or pain at the jaw joint, involuntary contractions in your face muscles, feeling as though your jaw is rigid or stuck, and frequent headaches that begin around your ears. Another sign is hearing cracking, clicking, or popping when you move your jaw.
What To Expect
To diagnose a temporomandibular dysfunction, Dr. Dovey will listen carefully to understand your concerns prior to a physical exam. Throughout the examination, he will evaluate how your jaw moves and search for indicators of misalignment, jaw clenching, and teeth grinding. He will also palpate the jaw joint and lower face to detect any swelling and tenderness. He may also request digital images of your lower head along with an analysis of your bite to search for underlying factors that will determine your therapy approach. Depending on the examination, he will discuss ideal treatment choices for you that could incorporate a mouth guard, teeth straightening, or restorative dentistry (bridges, crowns, and dentures).
Along with treatments to address the root cause of your TMD, Dr. Dovey may suggest different strategies to alleviate pain and other problems on your own. This could include a soft food diet, not biting your nails or chewing gum, applying heat to your jaw, or incorporating relaxation methods into your typical day. Dr. Dovey may also show you exercises to strengthen your jaw or prescribe medication to relax your facial muscles and to alleviate pain, nervousness, or inflammation.
You should continue to attend follow-up appointments so Dr. Dovey can assess the results of your TMJ treatment. If your therapy isn't working, he might consider another treatment strategy. Even when your TMD is fully addressed, you should still schedule your yearly dental examinations at Finest City Dental so we can monitor the condition of your jaw.
Dental insurance policies for diagnosing TMJ pain and TMD therapies will vary so we'll get in touch with your provider to figure out your personal expenses. Whether you do or don't have dental insurance, Dr. Dovey will discuss price quotes when explaining treatment choices. To make all treatments as affordable as possible, Finest City Dental accepts many payment options, which includes medical financing.
Advanced TMD Treatments
Pain in your jaw can make it hard to eat, talk, and enjoy your everyday life. Because there are many potential causes, signs, and remedies to treat TMD, you should schedule an appointment with Dr. Nick Dovey at his practice in San Diego, CA. He will perform a detailed exam to diagnose your problem and discuss your best choices for treatment. Get in touch with our staff at Finest City Dental to learn more and schedule an appointment.