TMJ Specialist

University Oaks Dental -  - Dentist

University Oaks Dental

Dentist located in Houston, TX

If you experience jaw discomfort when doing things like eating or talking, you may have a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. The best way to find out is to head to Carol Alvarado, DMD, the skilled and compassionate dentist who leads the team at University Oaks Dental in Houston. She has extensive experience in treating TMJ disorders and encourages everyone with this often painful and frustrating condition to come in, get an evaluation, and get an individualized treatment plan that can stop their pain. Call today or schedule your visit online.

TMJ Q & A

University Oaks Dental

What is the temporomandibular joint?

The temporomandibular joint connects your jawbone to your skull. There’s one on each side of your head near your ears, and it is used every time you speak, chew, open your mouth, or move your jaw in any way.

What is TMJ disorder?

TMJ disorder covers a group of conditions that can affect the function of your jaw and the muscles, ligaments, and other structures that support the joints.

The disorder can cause varying degrees of discomfort and includes symptoms such as:

  • Jaw pain or tenderness that may occur in the joint or nearby areas
  • Discomfort or pain in or around your ear
  • Pain while chewing
  • Pain in the facial region, especially in the cheeks and cheekbone area
  • The sensation that the joint is locking, leading to difficulty opening and closing your mouth
  • A clicking sound or grating sensation when you open your mouth

What causes TMJ disorder?

It’s not always easy to pinpoint the reason for TMJ disorder, which can involve the joint itself as well as the muscles and ligaments that support it, but one or more of the following are sometimes culprits:  

  • Arthritis in the joint
  • Misaligned teeth or bite
  • A blow or other trauma to the jaw
  • Excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching

Your genes may also play a role since the risk of arthritis and other issues responsible for TMJ disorder often run in families.

What is the treatment for TMJ disorder?

Step one is a full evaluation by Dr. Alvarado, which typically includes a detailed discussion about your symptoms, a careful examination of your teeth and jaw alignment, and X-rays to identify bony abnormalities that may be causing your discomfort.

After Dr. Alvarado has confirmed a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, she will build a treatment strategy based on the nature and severity of your symptoms, which may include:

  • Treatment to straighten misaligned teeth
  • Meditation, biofeedback, or other measures to control the jaw-clenching stress in your life
  • Muscle relaxants, analgesics, or anti-inflammatory medicine for pain
  • An oral splint, night guard or bite plate to decrease teeth grinding or jaw clenching

If you want help for TMJ, contact Dr. Alvarado and her friendly team at University Oaks Dental by calling or going online today.