TMJ Treatment

Rick K. Smith, DDS

Dentistry in Santa Cruz, CA

TMJ Therapy in santa cruz ca

Do Your Suffer From TMJ Disorder?

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction disorder (TMJ/TMD) is a common condition that causes pain to the jaw, ears, mouth, and face. TMJ disorder is characterized by severe headaches, jaw pain of varying degrees, grinding teeth, and an intermittent ringing in the ears.

A majority of TMJ sufferers are unaware that the root cause of these problems is something that a dentist can effectively treat. Luckily, Dr. Smith can test, diagnose, and devise an immediate plan to treat your underlying causes of TMD. See how.

Causes & Symptoms of TMD

The most common cause of TMJ is the misalignment of the teeth, often called “bad bite.” TMD sufferers also report that their symptoms exacerbate during periods of prolonged or unexpected stress, leading to neck pain and dizziness.

Common signs of TMJ disorder are:

  • Jawn pain or tenderness
  • Pain in one or both of the temporomandibular joints
  • Earaches
  • Trouble chewing or pain while eating
  • Aching facial pain
  • Lockjaw
  • Teeth grinding at night
  • Headaches or dizziness

It’s important for anyone experiencing one or more symptoms of TMJ to visit Dr. Smith for an evaluation and a potential diagnosis.

Diagnosing & Finding TMJ Treatment

Diagnosing & Finding TMJ Treatment

Initially, Dr. Smith will perform a thorough examination of your jaw, bite, take x-rays, and review your medical history to make an accurate diagnosis. Once a firm diagnosis is attained, he will discuss several TMJ treatments in which relief can be provided.

Typically, we will recommend a custom-made bite guard to help stop teeth grinding during the night. Dr. Smith may also provide advice on relaxation techniques that will lessen the effects of stress. As a last alternative, we’re able to prescribe muscle relaxants to relieve pain.

In more severe cases, Dr. Smith may see that permanent realignment of your bite is the best option. This will alleviate TMJ disorder symptoms and may improve the aesthetic appearance of your teeth as well. Realignment involves adjusting the relationship between how the upper teeth come together with the lower teeth and typically will require new restorations.


Teeth Cleaning

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TMJ Disorder FAQs

If your jaw pops and causes pain to you throughout the day, we recommend coming in to have your TMJ evaluated. Even mild cases of TMJ can progress to become severe over time and interfere with your ability to eat and chew.

Dr. Smith can determine the extent of your pain and provide proper TMJ treatment so you can live your life without pain.

Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are located on both sides of your head, near your ears. These joints help your jaw to open and close when you eat, speak, and yawn.

If something happens to affect your TMJ, you may end up with a temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Your TMJ can be affected by a variety of factors, including arthritis, an accident, or stress.

No, ear pain when chewing or yawning isn’t normal. This can be a sign of a temporomandibular disorder (TMD). A TMD can lead to jaw popping, clicking, and pain when you open your mouth. Many people who have it notice it most often when chewing food or yawning.

Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are located on either side of your head, around your ears. When your TMJ has a disorder, your ears may also be affected due to their proximity. Treatment for TMD can also help reduce your ear pain.

Jaw popping is a common sign of a TMD, but jaw popping can also be benign. If you’re affected by the other signs of TMD, especially pain, we highly recommend coming in to see us. We can determine the severity of your TMD and provide treatment.

Even if your jaw popping isn’t TMD or if it’s mild TMD, it can become more severe over time. Beginning treatment while your symptoms are still tolerable can prevent you from experience more serious symptoms in the future.

Yes, TMJ issues can lead to hearing loss. Your TMJ is on both sides of your head, located near your ears. If there’s an issue with your TMJ, you may experience hearing loss due to the proximity.

The good news is that treatment for TMD may help you to regain your hearing. As the stress on your TMJ is relieved, the condition of your ears will also likely improve. Your hearing may change depending on the severity of your TMD and your treatment options.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of TMJ, we encourage you to contact our office today to schedule an appointment. Our team will work with you to provide you with a personalized treatment plan to mitigate your discomfort. Give us a call at (831) 462-5600 or fill out a contact form below.

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4.9 Ratings


Mon – 9am – 6pm
Tue – 8am – 5pm
Wed – 9am – 6pm
Thu – 9am – 6pm
Fri – 8am – 4pm
Sat – Closed

Sun – Closed


8030 Soquel Ave. #101
Santa Cruz, CA 95062

(831) 462-5600