For prompt relief from TMJ pain, turn to our advanced specialty care

Prosthodontists are primarily specialists in oral prostheses. When we generally think of oral prosthetics, tooth replacement often comes to mind; however, prosthodontists like Dr. Stephen Alfano are well-versed in all structures and tissues that make up your mouth, jaws, and face. As such, Balboa Island Dentistry should be your first choice in Newport Beach, California, to resolve the symptoms of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. Dr. Alfano can accurately pinpoint the underlying cause of jaw pain and other symptoms, which presents the foundation for prompt and effective treatment and relief. 

TMJ disorders demystified 

There are two TM joints, one joint on each side of your face. The joints connect your jaw and skull. When they function correctly, these joints behave like a hinge to aid in fluid movements. So, you can open and close your mouth without pain. When joints become disordered due to a range of factors from arthritis to bite problems, considerable pain can arise. Other common symptoms of TMJD include: 

  • Chronic migraines and headaches
  • Jaw, facial, neck, shoulder, and back pain
  • Ringing of the ears (“tinnitus”)
  • Dizziness
  • Lockjaw or stiffness
  • Popping and clicking when opening and closing the mouth
  • Earaches

TMJD symptoms can become worse or more frequent over time without treatment. Additionally, they can have a tremendously detrimental impact on your well-being and quality of life. Interfering with your ability to chew food efficiently and without pain or your ability to sleep, work, or enjoy life due to the frequency of headaches and other debilitating symptoms. 

Specialty care to the rescue

Dr. Alfano starts by blending both his knowledge of oral and maxillofacial anatomy and function with his advanced, precision diagnostics to get to the root cause of your TMJ troubles. Treatment is then tailored to what he finds during an evaluation and in close consultation with you. 

Any time excessive pressure or force is placed on the TM joints, it can lead to TMJ symptoms. Degenerative conditions, such as arthritis, can contribute. Other potential causes include behaviors such as chronic teeth grinding (“bruxism”) or gum chewing. Even worn dental restorations or misaligned teeth can throw off the healthy balance between the joints and their interconnected oral structures, including the muscles, ligaments, discs, bones, and cartilage. 

So, relief may come in the form of oral appliances. These appliances are customized to protect the teeth and mouth from damage and the excessive forces generated by bruxism. Additionally, some custom guards or splints can prevent the back teeth from touching when biting down. In doing so, much of the destructive force associated with teeth grinding and jaw clenching is avoided. These appliances help ease the frequency and severity of headaches and other TMJ-related conditions. 

Relaxation exercises, physical therapy to strengthen the muscles, restorative dental procedures, and orthodontic treatment also represent just a few methods that Dr. Alfano may recommend to restore your comfort, happy smile, and overall well-being. We encourage you to contact us at (949) 673-7820 for advanced TMJD care.