The Temporomandibular Joint in San Mateo, CA

TMJ in San Mateo, CA

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that links the lower jawbone to the skull. Millions of Americans complain of experiencing pain in the jaws, face, neck and also of recurring headaches. All this could be a result of Temporomandibular disorder (TMD).

The temporomandibular joints will be extensively used throughout the day, as they experience movement when you bite, chew, talk, swallow, yawn, etc. All these activities could put pressure on the TMJ and lead to TMD.

Ryan C. Courtin, D.D.S., performs oral and maxillofacial surgery. He is trained to perform crown restorations, correct TMD, and root canal therapy for patients. He is capable of diagnosing and treating facial pain and temporomandibular joint problems.

What Are the Causes of TMD?

  • Excessive pressure is applied to the TMJ when you clench your teeth.
  • Extensive movement of soft tissues near the ball and socket of the joint.
  • Stress in the facial and jaw muscles.
  • Any injury to the TMJ caused due to external trauma.

What Are the Symptoms of TMD?

  • Prolonged pain in the TMJ, the facial muscles, and the muscles around the jawbone.
  • Pain in the ears. Sometimes, you may also experience a ringing sound in the ears.
  • Recurring headaches and pain in the neck.
  • The feeling of uneasiness when you move your jaw. You may hear a popping or clicking sound when you move your jaw.
  • Limited movement of the lower jaw. Sometimes, you may have a locked jaw.
  • The tissues around the temporomandibular joint may swell up, which could, in turn, make the face look swollen.
  • You may experience sudden convulsions (spasms) in the jaws.
  • If the condition of TMD becomes severe, you may experience a change in the alignment of the lower jaw.

How Can TMD Be Controlled?

A few remedial steps can be taken at home to reduce the effect of TMD and prevent it from occurring frequently. They are listed below:

  • Relaxing the facial muscles is very important. A simple method that you should remember is 'Lips together-teeth apart'. This would prevent excessive pressure from being applied to the jaw muscles due to clenching of the teeth.
  • Avoid chewing gum and frequent snacking.
  • Maintaining a proper posture by sitting straight, with your head up and shoulders squared.
  • Avoid grinding your teeth.

Ways To Treat TMD

There are several ways to treat TMD effectively. The first step in addressing this issue is seeking professional help from our qualified dentist, who specializes in craniofacial disorders. We will conduct a thorough examination to accurately diagnose the problem and create an individualized treatment plan based on the severity of the condition. One common approach involves using orthotic devices like splints or mouthguards to reposition the jaw properly while minimizing stress on the joints and muscles. These custom-made appliances provide stability and support during movements of the jawbone, promoting healing and relieving symptoms over time.

Another effective method for treating TMD is physical therapy tailored specifically for temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Skilled therapists employ various techniques such as ultrasound therapy, gentle exercises, manual manipulation of soft tissues around the affected area, and hot/cold compresses to reduce inflammation and enhance mobility within the joint. This multidimensional approach not only helps alleviate immediate pain but also strengthens muscles responsible for stabilizing the jaw over time.

In more severe cases where conservative treatments fail to provide relief or if structural abnormalities are present within the TMJ itself, surgical intervention may be necessary as a last resort option. The goal of surgery is typically to repair damaged tissue or correct any anatomical irregularities contributing to TMD.

Call us at (650) 342-0474 to book an appointment with Courtin Family Dentistry for the best dentist in San Mateo, CA, and we shall guide you further.


36 N. San Mateo Drive, Suite B, San Mateo, CA 94401

Office Hours

MON - WED 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

THU - FRI 7:00 am - 3:30 pm

SAT - SUN Closed

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Phone: (650) 342-0474