2023 Guide to TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Disorders
TMJ treatment Los Angeles

2023 Guide to TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Disorders

What is TMJ?

The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) refers to the joint that links the lower jaw (mandible) to the skull. The joint may be found in front of the ears on either side of the head. As a result, It allows you to close and open your jaw, allowing you to eat and speak. If you are looking for an experienced TMJ Specialist in Los Angeles, continue reading.

The TMJ abbreviation has been utilized to refer to a set of health issues related to the jaw. Still, it is more regularly abbreviated as TMJD or TMD to distinguish the disorders from TMJ itself. These disorders might cause facial pain, joint pain, and difficulty moving your joint.

Per National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research, up to 10 million US residents have TMJ. Women suffer from temporomandibular joint more than men. The good news is that TMJ is treatable; however, there are several different potential causes. This may make the TMJD diagnosis difficult. Read on to learn more regarding TMJ. In case of any concerns, you should search for TMJ dentist near me and discuss it with him.

What Causes TMJ?

In most cases, the TMJ causes are not known. Trauma to the joints or jaw can play a big role. There also exist other health disorders that can contribute to the growth of TMJ. These include the following.

  • Arthritis
  • Habitual clenching or grinding of the teeth
  • Joint erosion
  • Structural problems in the jaw present at birth
    Some other factors are often related to TMJD development; however, they have not yet been shown to be a TMJ source. These include the following.
  • Usage of orthodontic appliances
  • Poor posture, which strains the face and neck muscles
  • Malnutrition
  • Prolonged pressure
  • Lack of enough sleep

Symptoms of TMJ

Symptoms of TMJ illnesses depend on the cause and severity of your ailment. The major symptom of the temporomandibular joint is a pain in your jaw and the adjacent muscles. Other signs commonly linked with these conditions include:

  • Face or neck pain
  • Limitation of jaw movement is limited
  • Jaw lock
  • Stiffness in the jaw muscles
  • Jaw displacement, change in the alignment of the lower and upper teeth (called a malocclusion)
  • A click or sound appears on the temporomandibular joint site
    Symptoms can appear on only one side of your face or both sides.

How is TMJ diagnosed?

Temporomandibular joint disorders may be hard to diagnose. There are no set standard tests to detect these conditions. Your dentist or doctor will analyze your signs and examine the jaw. They will probably:

  • Notice the range of movement in your jaw
  • Feel and listen to your jaw as you close and open your mouth
  • Add pressure on the areas near the jaw to determine the location of discomfort or pain
    If your TMJ specialist or doctor suspects an issue, you may require:
  • A dental X-ray to check your jaw and teeth
  • A CT scan to offer detailed descriptions of the bones in the joint
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to check for joint disc or adjacent soft tissue problems
    Arthroscopy of the TMJ is at times used to diagnose the temporomandibular joint disorder. In TMJ arthroscopy, your dentist inserts a tiny, thin tube (cannula) in the joint space and then a small camera (arthroscope) to have a clear view of the area to help make a diagnosis.

Treatment Options for TMJ in Los Angeles

In some instances, the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders might go away without any treatment. If the symptoms persist, your TMJ specialist in Los Angeles may recommend a range of treatment options, regularly more than one at a time.


Together with other non-surgical medications, these drug options can help ease the pain connected to TMJD.

  • Analgesics and anti-inflammatories. In case over-the-counter pain reliever is not enough to relieve TMJD pain, your dentist or doctor may recommend stronger painkillers for a short time, for example, prescription ibuprofen.
  • Muscle relaxants. These medications are occasionally used for some days or weeks to assist in relieving pain caused by TMJD triggered by muscle contractions.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants. These prescriptions, such as amitriptyline, are primarily used for depression treatment, but in small doses, they are at times used to relieve pain and control bruxism and insomnia.


Non-drug treatments for TMJD include:

  • Mouth guards or splints (occlusal devices). Often, individuals with jaw pain may benefit from using a firm or soft dental appliance; however, the reason why these appliances are helpful is not well established.
  • Physical therapy. In addition to stretching and strengthening exercises for the jaw muscles, therapies may include moist heat, ultrasound, and ice.
  • Advice. Counseling and education can help you understand the behaviors and factors that can heighten your pain, so please try and avoid them. Some of them include gnashing or grinding your teeth, leaning on the chin, or biting your nails.

Surgeries or Other Procedures

When the above methods don’t work, your doctor may suggest procedures outlined below.

  • Joint paracentesis. Arthrocentesis is a less invasive procedure that involves inserting tiny needles in the joint so fluid can drain through the joint and remove inflammatory waste and by-products.
  • Injection. In other people, an injection of a corticosteroid into the joint can be helpful. In rare cases, injection of botulinum toxin category A (Botox and others) in the jaw muscles utilized for chewing can relieve pain linked with TMJD.
  • TMJ arthroscopy. In certain instances, arthroscopic surgery may be effective in treating various kinds of TMJ disorders, such as open-joint operation. A tiny thin tube (called a cannula) is put into your joint space, then an arthroscope is put, and small surgical devices are applied for surgery. Temporomandibular arthroscopy has fewer complications and risks than open-joint surgery, but it also has some limitations.
  • Modified condylar anatomy. The modified condylar joint treats the TMJ indirectly, through surgery on the jaw, but not on the joint. It can help control and stabilize pain.
  • Open-joint surgery. In case the jaw pain does not reduce with conservative treatments and appears to result from a structural issue in the joint, your dentist or doctor may suggest open-joint surgery to replace or repair the joint. Though open joint surgery has more risks than all other procedures, you should consider it very carefully, after understanding the advantages and disadvantages.

In case your doctor suggests surgery or any other procedure, be sure to weigh the potential risks and benefits and ask what all of your alternatives are.

Helpful Tips for TMJ Disorder Treatment

Self-care routines that can help relieve TMJ symptoms include:

  • Eat soft foods
  • Apply an ice pack
  • Avoid vigorous jaw movements such as yawning, cheering loudly, and chewing gum
  • Learn relaxation and stress reduction techniques
  • Do jaw stretching and relaxation exercises that can help increase jaw mobility. Your physical therapist or healthcare provider can suggest exercises if applicable to your specific situation.

Botox for TMJ Pain Treatment

Botox treatment for TMJD is a non-invasive outpatient procedure. The healthcare provider, Dr. Bruce Vafa DDS, can do this right in his office. Each medication session usually lasts 10 to 30 minutes. You can expect to get a minimum of three injection meetings over several months.

Your doctor will insert Botox into the muscles of your forehead, temples, and jaw. They can also inject other parts depending on the symptoms. Dr. Bruce Vafa DDS will decide how many Botox injections you require. The injections can cause pain similar to that of an insect bite. Specialists recommend relieving pain with cold compresses or numbing cream.

Even though some improvement might be felt within one or two days of treatment, relief usually takes a few more days. People who have received Botox for TMJ treatment in Los Angeles can expect to return to normal activities once they leave the doctor’s office.

You must stay upright and avoid massaging or rubbing the injection site for some hours after medication. This helps stop the toxin from going to other muscles.

Tips for Easing Pain at the Time of Dental Care

In case you have TMJ, it can be painful to exercise basic dental hygiene. This involves routinely brushing and flossing your teeth. The TMJD Association suggests these tips minimize pain and help ensure that your gums and teeth remain healthy.

  • Use a sonic toothbrush or a soft-bristle toothbrush
  • Use a string or a rubber stimulator with water if you cannot open the mouth
  • Put an antiseptic mouthwash to your daily oral care regimen
  • Inform the dental team if you feel pain during dental care procedure
  • Apply heat or ice after a dental care procedure
  • Discuss with your dentist concerning other ways to get rid of plaque besides flossing. For instance, they might suggest that you wipe your teeth with a cotton ball.

How Can You Prevent TMJ?

You might not be in a position to prevent TMJ from rising; however, you might be able to minimize symptoms by reducing your level of stress. It may be helpful to attempt to stop crunching your teeth if it is a problem for you. Possible solutions for teeth grinding include wearing a mouth guard at night and taking muscle relaxants. You can also help prevent grinding by reducing stress and general anxiety through exercise, counseling, and diet.

Cost of Botox for TMJ Treatment in Los Angeles

Contact your insurance company to see if it covers TMJ treatment in Los Angeles, including Botox. They might not cover the treatment because the Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved Botox. However, it’s worth knowing if they cover this treatment.

The cost of Botox treatment for TMJ in Los Angeles varies. Your treatment requirements, the number of injections, and your symptoms’ seriousness might determine the amount you will use on the procedure. The geographical location where you get treatment might also affect the price. For instance, at Smile Angels of Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, the treatment costs anywhere from $450 to $1,500.

See Also: How Botox Helps with TMJ Treatment

TMJ Specialist Los Angeles

Dr. Bruce Vafa offers the best treatment for TMJ. He is one of the best TMJ Specialists in Los Angeles. The prognosis for TMJ disorder is dependent on the source of the problem. For many people in Beverly Hills, Dr. Vafa can successfully treat TMJ disorders. In case your condition is a result of a chronic disease like arthritis, a change of lifestyle may not be adequate. Most TMJD require lifestyle changes and can be combined with medications to reduce discomfort and pain. Aggressive medications are hardly needed. Contact our specialist in Beverly Hills regarding your options to decide the right treatment for you.

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