Want to get rid of TMJ pain? Take the first step: A TMJ diagnosis.

Millions of Americans suffer the painful symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMD), yet the condition is often misdiagnosed by health care providers without experience in the field of neuromuscular dentistry because it shares many of the symptoms with other health problems.

Santa Monica neuromuscular dentist Dr. Ana Brightleaf uses advanced technology and extensive experience to pinpoint the source of your TMJ/TMD and recommend a custom treatment plan. As an LVI Fellow, Dr. Brightleaf has undergone extensive training in the field of neuromuscular dentistry, and she has helped countless patients bring their jaws and teeth into proper alignment and relieve their pain.

A host of painful symptoms

TMJ/TMD draws its name from the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jaw to the skull. Working with the temporomandibular joint is a complex system of nerves, muscles, tendons and bones.

Among this network is the trigeminal nerve, which plays a role in helping you bite, chew, swallow and register sensation in your face. A misaligned jaw or bite condition can place undue stress on the sensitive connective components including the trigeminal nerve, which can result in TMJ symptoms including:

  • Migraine-like headaches
  • Neck, shoulder and facial pain
  • Ringing ears/tinnitus
  • Clicking or popping of the jaw
  • Locking or sticking of the jaw
  • Jaw pain
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and fingers
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing
  • TMJ/TMD Diagnosis

Assessment for TMJ/TMD focuses largely on determining your proper bite and jaw alignment. Accurate TMJ/TMD diagnosis involves tracking the movement of your jaw, measuring aspects of your mouth and finding your jaw’s optimal resting position. These factors will form the foundation of your TMJ/TMD treatment.

Give yourself a treat(ment)

Minor cases of TMJ/TMD may be solved by putting an end to poor dental health habits such as pen biting, ice chewing or teeth grinding.

Patients with more advanced TMJ/TMD may benefit from the use of transcutaneous neural stimulation (TENS). TENS can relax your jaw muscles and allow your jaw to rest in a comfortable, natural position through the use of mild electrical stimulation.

For those who suffer from TMJ/TMD due to bite conditions, an oral appliance or other treatment may be necessary. When not treated, TMJ/TMD can lead to progressively uncomfortable symptoms and may contribute to additional dental problems such as excessive tooth wear and periodontal disease.

If you suffer from symptoms of TMJ/TMD and would like to learn about treatment options, please contact Brightleaf Dental to schedule your consultation with Santa Monica neuromuscular (TMJ) dentist Dr. Ana Brightleaf.