Understanding TMJ/TMD and Non-invasive Treatment with Oral Appliance Therapy

TMJ Houston, TXThe team of Royal Dental assists patients with a variety of dental concerns that may be affecting their overall quality of life, including conditions such as TMJ/TMD.

What is TMJ/TMD?

TMJ/TMD is short for temporomandibular joint and temporomandibular joint disorder. This is the joint in the face that hinges the jaw. It allows you to open and close your mouth, and also to eat and speak. Unfortunately, some patients deal with a malfunction in this joint and can experience a number of different problems. This may include:

• Locking of the jaw in the open or closed position

• Pain and discomfort in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles

• Pain radiating down the neck and shoulders and up to the ears

• Chronic soreness of the jaw joint

• Clicking and popping of the joint when eating or speaking

When these problems become continual, it may be diagnosed as TMD, a chronic problem that may require treatment.

How is TMJ/TMD treated?

For some patients with severe TMD, jaw surgery may be necessary and unavoidable. However, many patients are able to address their condition with something as simple as a specialized mouth guard. Oral appliance therapy is a popular method of addressing problems with the TMJ and is non-invasive and affordable. Oral appliance therapy is achieved when patients come into Royal Dental to have a series of impressions done, which are used to create custom oral appliances that are made to fit into the mouth and reduce problems associated with TMJ/TMD. In many cases, these oral appliances can also help with coexisting problems such as bruxism, which causes clenching and grinding of the teeth. Our dentists can assess a patient, provide a proper diagnosis, and then work with individuals to decide if oral appliance therapy would be beneficial in achieving a healthier smile free from pain and discomfort.

Ready to discuss treatment for TMJ/TMD?

Call Royal Dental today in the Houston, TX community at (713) 330-7700 to schedule a visit at any of our eight convenient locations. We offer solutions for patients in the cities and surrounding communities of Houston, Sugar Land, Humble, Pearland, and Baytown.

What Does it Mean When My Jaw Clicks or Pops?

Jaw clicking or popping within itself may not be a sign of a problem. However, it it is accompanied by other signs such as jaw pain, tenderness, aching around your ears, or locking of the jaw, it may could be a sign of a TMJ disorder. If you experience any of these signs you should visit your dentist so they can determine if you have TMJ disorder though an exam, and determine the best course of treatment.

Jaw Popping and Clicking in houston tx at royal dental USA

Non-TMJ Related Causes

  • Jaw Injury, such as a strong blow on the jaw can sometimes result in jaw clicking or popping.
  • Malocclusion, which is a misalignment on the teeth, can also cause clicking or popping of the jaw. Most of the time, this can be corrected by a dentists.
  • Poorly Fitting Dentures can result in a malocclusion and cause jaw clicking or popping.
  • Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can cause stress on the jaw and surrounding muscles, which can result in jaw problems and jaw clicking or popping.

When to See Your Dentist

These are just some of the most common causes of jaw clicking or popping, however, there are various causes and they can all potentially contribute to more serious problems if left untreated. If you experience clicking of the jaw, especially if accompanied by other symptoms, such as pain or tenderness, please consult with your dentist.

At Royal Dental we care about your oral health and overall well-being. If you are having issues with jaw clicking and popping or pain, please feel free to contact us. We would be happy to evaluate your situation and provide you with information and treatment options when indicated.

Not All Toothaches Are Tooth Related

When we have a pain in our teeth we automatically assume that the tooth is the source of the pain. Though this may be true in most cases, there are some instances where your tooth pain may actually be caused by something other than you teeth. This type of pain is called Referred pain. Referred pain is pain perceived at a location other than the site of the actual source of the pain. Below are two of the more common sources of referred pain than can result in achy or painful teeth.

Maxillary Sinusitis

Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinuses, and is a common problem for many people, and is a chronic problem for about 15% for the population. There are 7 sinuses in the head, one of which is called the Maxillary sinus. The Maxillary is the most commonly infected sinus. One of the symptoms of maxillary sinusitis is pain that can mimic the pain of toothaches.

Additional signs and symptoms of Maxillary Sinusitis:

  • Nasal congestion
  • Tenderness of the sinuses
  • Headache
  • Bad breath
  • Nasal discharge
  • Fever

TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint Disorders)

TMJ is a disorder of the jaw joint and chewing muscles that can cause pain and discomfort in the jaw, face, or neck. It is estimated that over 10 million Americans are affected by TMJ issues. The condition also appears to be more common in women than men. TMJ can be caused by a number of things including a bad bite, trauma to the jaw, or grinding of the teeth, called Bruxism. Pain can sometimes be felt in the teeth as a form of referred pain due to TMJ disorders.

Additional Signs and symptoms of TMJ:

  • Jaw Pain
  • Discomfort when biting or chewing
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Clicking or popping sound when opening or closing the mouth
  • Earache
  • Headache
  • Difficulty opening or closing the mouth
  • Dull, aching pain in the face

Ruling Out Non-Dental Causes

When experiencing tooth pain it is important to first rule out any dental causes. You dentist can conduct an examination to detect any dental issues that may be causing the pain. If no dental cause is detected you dentist may be instrumental in helping you to potentially identifying what may be causing the referred pain.

How Can You Tell If You Have Been Grinding Your Teeth At Night?

The grinding of teeth, medically called Bruxism, can cause permanent damage to the enamel of your teeth. While sleeping the pressure of bruxing can be up to six times greater than when awake, approximately 250 pounds of force per square inch! People who grind and clench their teeth are referred to as bruxers and in many cases do you even realize the damage they are unintentionally causing to their teeth.

If not treated, the long term effects of Bruxism can lead to:

  • Damage to teeth.
  • Broken fillings.
  • Tooth sensitivity.
  • Jaw pain.
  • Difficulty in opening and closing the jaw.
  • Headaches.


How can you tell if you are grinding your teeth?

If you have been grinding your teeth there are some signs an symptoms that commonly appear. One of the primary signs that may indicate Bruxism is waking up with a sore jaw. If you wake frequently and wake up in the morning feeling tired this could also be an indication that you are unconsciously grind your teeth at night. However, there are many causes of disturbed sleep habits, so you will want to look for any of the additional signs and symptoms below.

Signs and symptoms of Bruxism:

  • Sore Jaw muscles, especially in the morning.
  • Discomfort around the ears when chewing or yawning.
  • Morning headaches.
  • Insomnia.
  • Rhythmic contractions of the jaw muscles.
  • Hot, cold sensitivity in the teeth.

Consulting with Your Dentist

If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth you need to visit your dentist. A dentist will be able to see if there are any tooth wear, a telltale sign of Bruxism. Your dentist can provide you with a mouth guard to wear when you sleep. This will prevent damage to your teeth and can also help to alleviate jaw pain. Don’t wait until the damage has been done, if you suspect you are grinding your teeth contact your dentist today!

Your Quick Guide to Quick Relief From TMJ Pain

One of the classic symptoms of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders is jaw pain, either in one or both sides. The pain itself could even radiate down to the neck and shoulders. Here at our Houston dental practice, our treatment approach to TMJ disorders is geared towards treating both acute and chronic symptoms of the condition.

Below is our quick guide to relief of jaw pain out of TMJ disorders:

  • Apply heat packs and cold compresses one at a time to the affected area. Apply heat first for at least 20 minutes and follow it with cold compresses for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Switch between the two until you achieve relief.
  • Relax your jaw by sticking to a soft food diet and avoiding unnecessary jaw movements.
  • Do these jaw exercises.
  • Wear your mouthguard if you have one.
  • Take painkillers as prescribed by your doctor.
  • Avoid stressing yourself too much as stress is known to be a trigger to jaw pain. Engage in exercises that employ deep breathing and progressive relaxation techniques.

Your Personalized TMJ Pain Relief Plan

Your Royal Dental USA team will assess your unique health needs and trouble areas to determine a measured approach to alleviating your symptoms of TMJ disorders such as jaw pain.

Get in touch with us by calling (713) 330-7700 or by filling out this contact form to schedule an appointment. We look forward to helping you out!


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