TMJ Disorder Treatment San Diego . La Jolla . Del Mar

Dr. Amy Khajavi DDS is a graduate of the International College of Cranio-Mandibular Orthopedics in Chicago, Illinois. After completing her dental degree as a dentist in Oregon, she continued an additional five more years of extensive studying which led her to received the prestigious Master of International College of Cranio-Mandibular Orthopedics specializing in jaws, full mouth reconstruction , occlusion, neuromuscular dentistry, sleep disorders, and TMJ/TMD diagnosis and treatment.

TMJ Disorder Treatment
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TMD/TMJ & Bruxism

Temporomandibular disorders, or TMD/TMJ, refer to a set of medical conditions that involve the jaw joints, the muscles that render jaw movement, and the dental occlusion. They are often collectively called TMJ by doctors and insurance companies: though TMJ refers only to the jaw joints. TMJ physical disorders are caused due to an imbalance in the fragile relationship of the skull and jaw with the muscles that move the jaw and also the nervous system associated with these systems.

An imbalance can result in spasm, joint dysfunction, muscle fatigue, and also changes in teeth, which can trigger different symptoms, varied for each patient.

Watch Out For The Following Symptoms of TMD:

  • Tenderness or pain in jaw joint, face, shoulders, neck, or around the ear while opening the mouth wide, speaking or chewing
  • Reduced ability to open the mouth widely
  • Jaws that lock or stick in the closed or open mouth position.
  • Popping, grating, or clicking sounds in the jaw joint upon closing or opening the mouth (sometimes accompanied by pain)
  • The face feels tired
  • Chewing becomes difficult, as if lower and upper teeth are not closing together properly
  • The side of the face has a swelling
  • Headache is a common symptom of TMJ. Typically, a TMJ headache is present at the back of the head, temples, or the shoulders. The headache pain may be caused due to the grinding and clenching of the teeth–both possibly TMJ symptoms–which trigger muscle pain. Moreover, a displaced disc in the TMJ can lead to pain in the joint, and the pain is felt in the neck, forehead, or the temples. Such headaches, often severe, are mistaken for abnormalities in the brain or as migraine headaches, and therefore run the risk of being misdiagnosed.

How Does BOTOX® Resolve TMJ Disorder and Treat Jaw Tension?

BOTOX® resolves jaw tension by disabling the muscles in the strong and often unconscious movement of the jaw: an action that causes pain and headaches. As an alternative treatment for jaw tension and TMJ disorders, BOTOX® is effective, straightforward, and quick. It is non-surgical, and the BOTOX® injections are given in a doctor’s office with no requirement for a hospital stay. Patients often feel improvement within a day or two of the first treatment. However, relief from symptoms can take up to a week.

Who Can Receive the BOTOX® Alternative Jaw Treatment?

BOTOX® is considered to be a safe alternative to conventional treatment for most patients experiencing jaw tension or having a TMJ disorder. However, it is vital for BOTOX® providers to diagnose patients properly to find out if they are eligible for the treatment.

During the first consultation, your dentist or doctor should review your medical history before starting the treatment. Patients should reveal facts such as the use of medications, drugs, or other substances that could have an adverse reaction with BOTOX®. Patients must also report any allergies to avoid a possible bad reaction to BOTOX® treatment. However, patients having TMJ disorders or jaw tension, unable to have BOTOX® injections, are likely to be recommended a more traditional treatment routine.

Risks and Benefits of BOTOX® Treatment for Jaw Tension

BOTOX® injections can often provide significant relief to patients experiencing pain and soreness due to a malfunctioning temporo-mandibular joint. The treatment reduces the ability of facial muscles to participate in problematic grinding and allows them to carry out daily activities such as chewing, talking, and swallowing—making the BOTOX® alternative treatment for jaw tension an effective and convenient choice for many patients. Moreover, the treatment can protect dental health, which can get affected due to excessive grinding resulting in damaged gums and worn teeth: both of which require costly treatment.

BOTOX® treatment for TMJ disorders is considered safe. However, certain intoxicants, medications, and substances can either reduce or adversely affect the effectiveness of BOTOX® injections. For the procedure to be a success, patients should disclose information about substance or medication they are taking before the commencement of the treatment.

In a few cases, patients have experienced excessive paralysis of the muscles in the areas of the treatment and sometimes bleeding and bruising at injection sites. Given the complications involved in the treatment, ensure that your doctor discusses all the risks before treatment.

What Are The Other Alternative Medical Procedures For TMJ?

If a patient is initially given an appropriate diagnosis and treatment, alternative medical treatment for TMJ may not be advised. Alternative treatments include ultrasound, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), radio wave therapy, and trigger-point injections. Radio wave therapy and TENS send low-level radio or electrical waves of energy to the afflicted area to trigger blood flow to the joint and nearby area.

Surgical Treatment for TMJ

Surgery is usually a last-resort treatment after your health practitioner has tried other treatment options. Once undertaken, all TMJ-related surgery is carried out under general anesthesia. Your oral surgeon could perform the minor procedure called arthrocentesis in which the surgeon cleans the joint by putting needles into the joint area and inserting sterile fluid. Sometimes, the surgeon can insert a scalpel-like tool inside the joint to get rid of any tissue adhesions and realign the disc in the joint hinge.

Arthroscopy is another type of surgery that may be performed. During the surgery, the surgeon makes a cut at the temple point in front of the ear to insert an endoscope into the surrounding area. The endoscope offers a visual guide so that the surgeon can remove possible adhesions, reposition the disc, or treat inflammation.

An open joint surgery often becomes an option in complicated cases. It’s the only procedure that offers access to the deteriorating bony structures, severe chipped or scarred bone areas, and tumors. Your surgeon, depending on the nature of the problem, may utilize a scalpel to re-sculpt or remove the affected area.

What Is Bruxism or Teeth Grinding?

Bruxism or teeth grinding is a medical condition experienced by a significant percentage of Americans and can result or be aggravated due to stress. As such, clenching or grinding of teeth occasionally is normal and is called bruxism and does not cause harm. However, when teeth grinding takes place frequently, it can result in damage to the teeth and lead to further complications. People come to know they are grinding their teeth at night only when they wake up doing it.

Bruxism and TMD can cause facial pain, headaches, chipped teeth, earaches, and chewed tissue on the inside of the mouth. Repeated grinding will frequently lead to a hypertrophied masseter muscle: a major muscle used for chewing. Like weightlifting helps build biceps, the action of grinding builds the hypertrophied masseter muscle. However, teeth clenching with stronger muscles can cause more damage to the teeth.

Chronic teeth grinding, in some case, can cause in loss, loosening, or fracturing of teeth. Constant grinding could wear teeth down to stumps. Severe grinding damage can not only result in tooth loss but can also cause hearing loss, affect your jaws, change the appearance of your face, and worsen or cause TMD/TMJ. Moreover, facial pain and headaches may worsen with time due to bruxism.

Risk Factors Associated With TMJ

The risk of developing temporomandibular disorders increase due to the following factors:

  • Chronic anxiety or stress
  • Competitive or aggressive personality
  • Abuse of alcohol or drugs especially methamphetamines
  • PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Patient is 40 or younger and woman aged 27-40
  • Family member has bruxism
  • Oral or facial trauma
  • Usage of psychiatric medications, particularly antidepressants including Paxil, Zoloft, and Prozac
  • Record of serious injury to the head

The results

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Frequently asked questions

Who Will Require A Full Mouth Reconstruction?
Patients who have broken teeth, infected gums, or feel jaw pain, which is causing discomfort and affecting oral health, should contact their dentist to see if they are a fit candidate for a full mouth reconstruction.
What Should I Expect In a Full Mouth Reconstruction?
Mouth Reconstruction after thoroughly examining a patient as suitability for the procedure is on a case-by-case basis. However, if you have two or more of the following dental issues, you may require a full mouth reconstruction procedure.

Missing teeth due to decay or trauma, Broken or fractured teeth, Worn out teeth due to acid or tooth grinding, Receding gums or gum disease, Continuing headache, and jaw and muscle pain.
Dr. Amy's Experience With Full Mouth Reconstruction
Dr. Khajavi has extensive experience in full mouth reconstruction and helping patients attain healthy, confident and dazzling smiles. Dr. Khajavi has won multiple awards as a dentist, holds advanced dental degrees and also offers other major dental procedures including cosmetic dentistry, treatment for neuromuscular problems, dental cleaning, and TMJ.

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