Learn more about TMJ Disorder - Sunnyvale, CA Dentist, Dr. Ratna Indah, DMD

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders (TMD) affect over 10 million individuals in the United States, with a higher prevalence among women.  Many patients find themselves dealing with jaw pain rather than seeking help for their condition. At the Sunnyvale dental practice of Dr. Ratna Indah, we help patients find that right solution for their TMJ-related pain. 

What is TMJ?

The first step to understanding TMJ-related disorders requires knowledge of how this unique joint functions. 

Located in front of your ear, the temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw bone, known as the mandible, with the temporal bones of the skull. Unlike other joints in the body, the temporomandibular joint has rounded ends, called condyles, which glide rather than pivot in the temporal socket. To absorb the shock of movement, a soft tissue disc lays between the condyle and socket.

This joint is responsible for a number of functions, from chewing and speaking to swallowing and yawning. As a result, when the disc is worn down or the joint is incapacitated, patients can experience limited ability to complete even certain functions without severe pain or restriction.

Cause of TMJ Pain

While there is no singular specific cause of TMJ-related disorders, the ways symptoms manifest suggest that dental problems can play a role in the development of these disorders. In particular, poor bite, a history of dental or jaw trauma, and bruxism can increase the likelihood of developing these joint issues. Beyond the mouth, other causes of TMJ dysfunction include:

  • Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis
  • Poor posture
  • Hormonal Imbalance

Often, patients suffering from TMJ pain experience pain or stiffness in the jaw, neck, and shoulder muscles. Limited jaw movement, the sound of clicking, popping, or grating when opening or closing your mouth, changes in bite, teeth pain, chronic headaches or migraines are other commonly reported side-effects. 

Treating TMJ Disorders in Sunnyvale

When it comes to treating TMJ pain and dysfuntion, patients require an effective, multi-faceted treatment plan. At our Sunnyvale practice, our team is committed to helping patients regain jaw function through non-invasive treatments. By taking a conservative approach to TMJ care, we are able to minimize further trauma to this delicate area while improving overall joint function.  

In order to properly neutralize the pain caused by the joint disorder, Dr. Indah recommends jaw or ear splints, such as the TMJ NextGeneration®.  With this device, slight pressure is applied to the walls of the ear and the surrounding muscles and nerve tissue. This encourages the patient to keep their bite open, thereby reducing the instinct to clench the jaw. With this non-invasive treatment option, our patients do not have to worry about undergoing jaw surgery to correct jaw misalignment that contributes to TMJ problems.

Visit Us Today

If you are suffering TMJ-related pain, visit Dr. Indah today to learn more about your treatment options.  By collaborating with local specialists from varying health industries, our team develops a multi-faceted plan for tackling your TMJ disorder.