TMJ treatment in Concord, CA

TMJ treatment in Concord, CA


The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull. This complex system allows you to move your jaw up and down and side to side, facilitating actions like talking, chewing, and yawning. When there are issues with this joint, it can lead to the development of a TMJ disorder. 

TMJ disorder refers to a range of conditions that affect the TMJ and surrounding muscles. These conditions can cause pain or discomfort in the jaw joint area, making simple tasks like eating or speaking painful. People with TMJ disorders may also experience clicking or popping sounds when moving their jaw.

Factors like genetics, arthritis, jaw injury, or teeth grinding can contribute to developing a TMJ disorder. Stress and anxiety can also exacerbate symptoms by causing muscle tension in the face and jaw area. If left untreated, a TMJ disorder can impact one's quality of life significantly.

Understanding what TMJ disorders entail is crucial for seeking proper diagnosis and treatment options tailored to alleviate its symptoms effectively.

TMJ Disorder Symptoms

Do you often experience jaw pain or tenderness? Have you noticed a clicking or popping sound when you open and close your mouth? These could be signs of a TMJ disorder, a condition that affects the temporomandibular joint.

TMJ disorder symptoms can vary in severity and may include:

Jaw Pain

One of the most common symptoms is persistent pain or tenderness in the jaw joint area. This discomfort may be exacerbated by chewing, talking, or yawning.

Clicking or Popping Sounds

Some individuals with TMJ disorders experience clicking, popping, or grating noises when they open and close their mouths. This can indicate a misalignment of the jaw joint.

Limited Range of Motion

Another symptom is restricted movement in the jaw, making it difficult to open wide or move from side to side. This can lead to difficulty eating certain foods or speaking clearly.


Many people with TMJ disorders also suffer from frequent headaches, which are often described as tension headaches. These headaches may radiate from the temples down into the neck and shoulders.

Ear Pain

Pain in the ears is another common TMJ disorder symptom due to the close proximity between the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and ear canal. Individuals may experience aching, ringing, or fullness in one or both ears.

Overall, these symptoms can significantly impact an individual's quality of life and should be evaluated by a healthcare professional for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Causes of TMJ Disorders

TMJ disorders can arise from various causes, often stemming from a combination of factors.

Jaw Misalignment

One common cause is jaw misalignment, where the joint and muscles do not work together smoothly. This can result from an injury or dislocation of the jaw.


Another potential trigger for TMJ disorders is teeth grinding or clenching, known as bruxism. The constant pressure on the jaw joint and surrounding muscles can lead to inflammation and discomfort over time.


Stress and Anxiety 

Stress and anxiety are also culprits in exacerbating TMJ issues. Tension in the jaw muscles due to stress can contribute to pain and stiffness in the temporomandibular joint.

Poor Posture

Poor posture, particularly when sitting at a desk or using electronic devices for extended periods, may strain the neck and facial muscles connected to the TMJ.

Understanding these underlying causes is crucial in developing effective treatment plans tailored to each individual's needs. Call us to learn more.

Diagnosis and Treatment Options for TMJ Disorders

If you suspect you have a TMJ disorder, it is essential to seek a proper diagnosis from a qualified healthcare professional. Our dentist, Dr. Shweta Prabhakar, BDS, DDS, will evaluate your symptoms and medical history and perform a physical examination. She may also recommend imaging tests like X-rays or an MRI to get a clearer picture of the joint.

Treatment options for TMJ disorders vary depending on the severity of your condition. In mild cases, self-care practices such as applying ice packs, eating soft foods, and practicing relaxation techniques may help alleviate symptoms. For more persistent pain and discomfort, our healthcare provider may suggest oral splints or mouthguards to reduce jaw clenching and grinding.

Physical therapy exercises can also be beneficial in improving jaw mobility and reducing muscle tension around the joint. In some cases where conservative treatments are ineffective, surgical interventions like arthrocentesis or open-joint surgery may be recommended by specialists.

Non-Invasive Treatment Methods

Dealing with TMJ disorders can be challenging, but there are non-invasive treatment methods that can offer relief.

Lifestyle Modifications

One common approach is lifestyle modifications, such as avoiding hard or chewy foods and practicing stress-reducing techniques like yoga or meditation. 

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy like jaw exercises and heat or ice packs can also help alleviate symptoms.

Customized Mouthguard

In some cases, a customized mouthguard may be prescribed to prevent teeth grinding and clenching at night.

Over-the-Counter Pain Medication

Furthermore, over-the-counter pain relievers or anti-inflammatories may provide temporary relief from discomfort.

Relaxation Techniques

Additionally, relaxation techniques like deep breathing exercises can help relax the jaw muscles and reduce tension.

It's important to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most suitable non-invasive treatment plan for your specific TMJ disorder. By exploring these gentle approaches first, you may find significant improvement in your symptoms without the need for more invasive interventions.

Surgical Options for Severe Cases

When non-invasive treatments fail to provide relief for severe cases of TMJ disorders, surgical options may be considered. Surgical interventions are typically reserved for patients with significant pain and dysfunctions that have not responded to conservative measures.

Arthrocentesis or Arthroscopy

One common surgical option is arthrocentesis, a minimally invasive procedure where fluid is flushed through the joint to remove debris and reduce inflammation. Another more intensive surgery is arthroscopy, which involves inserting a small camera into the joint space to assess and repair damage.

Open-Joint Surgery

In some cases, open-joint surgery may be necessary to address structural issues within the jaw joint. This procedure requires making an incision near the ear to access the joint directly.

It's important for individuals considering surgical intervention to consult with our qualified dentist in Concord, CA, who specializes in treating TMJ disorders. Surgery should always be seen as a last resort after exhausting all other treatment options. Learn more about us here.

Tips for Managing and Preventing TMJ Pain

Living with TMJ pain can be challenging, but there are ways to manage and prevent discomfort.

  • One tip is to practice good posture, as slouching can strain the jaw muscles.
  • Additionally, avoiding chewing gum or tough foods can help reduce stress on the temporomandibular joint.
  • Stress management techniques like meditation or yoga may also alleviate tension that contributes to TMJ pain.
  • Applying a warm compress to the jaw area can provide relief from soreness and stiffness.
  • Gentle jaw exercises prescribed by a healthcare professional may improve muscle strength and flexibility.
  • Incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily routine, such as deep breathing exercises, can help relax the muscles in the jaw and decrease discomfort.  
  • It's important to stay hydrated and maintain a balanced diet rich in nutrients that support overall health. 

Incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily routine, such as deep breathing exercises, can help relax the muscles in the jaw and decrease discomfort. It's important to stay hydrated and maintain a balanced diet rich in nutrients that support overall health.

By implementing these tips consistently, you may be able to better manage TMJ pain and prevent flare-ups.


If you are experiencing symptoms of a TMJ disorder, it is essential to seek professional help from a specialized dental or medical provider. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly improve your quality of life and alleviate the pain associated with TMJ disorders. Remember that managing and preventing TMJ pain often involves a combination of non-invasive treatments, lifestyle changes, and sometimes surgical interventions for severe cases.

By understanding the causes, symptoms, diagnosis methods, and treatment options available for TMJ disorders, you can take proactive steps toward better oral health and overall well-being. Don't hesitate to consult with our healthcare professionals who specialize in treating TMJ disorders to find the most suitable treatment plan tailored to your individual needs. With proper care and attention, you can effectively manage TMJ pain and enjoy an improved quality of life without being limited by jaw discomfort or dysfunction.

Schedule a consultation at Shweta Prabhakar DDS Inc. to explore how our dental services can enhance your smile and oral health. Call us at (925) 689-7110 or visit our dental office at 2991 Treat Blvd., Suite G. Concord, CA 94518.

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