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TMJ Therapy – Los Gatos, CA

Make Jaw Pain An Issue of The Past

If your temporomandibular joints aren’t functioning the way they should, even the simple act of laughing, yawning, or enjoying a meal is difficult, which is no way to go through life. Dr. Diercks and Dr. Karamardian want to help you live life to the fullest, without jaw pain and discomfort, which is why we offer multiple types of TMJ therapy in Los Gatos, CA to help your jaw joints function better. If you think you may suffer from temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMD, we can help! Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

Man in need of T M J therapy holding his jaw

Why Choose Los Gatos Dental Group for TMJ Therapy?

  • Minimize Day-to-Day TMJ Discomfort
  • Two Experienced Dentists
  • Customized TMJ Therapies

Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

Woman with T M J disorder experiencing neck pain

When your jaw joints hurt, it can be all you think about. Since TMD affects all the muscles around the joints, jaw pain may not be the only symptom you notice. Here are some other common signs of TMD:

  • Clicking or popping on one or both sides
  • Headaches
  • Earaches or neck pain
  • Locked jaw
  • During a checkup, we may find damage to your teeth such as fractures, chips, or a flattening of the chewing surface (all of which are signs of clenching and grinding)

The Importance of Getting Treatment

Model of jaw and skull bone

Treatment is incredibly important for multiple reasons. First, it will get you out of pain, which is worthwhile in and of itself. Second, it will protect the joint from further damage and deterioration. Think of it the same way you would if you had problems with another joint such as a sprained ankle or knee injury - you would want to seek out treatment before continuing to walk on it to avoid further injury. It’s just as important to protect your TMJ by getting effective treatment.

And, last but certainly not least, TMD treatment in Los Gatos will prevent cracks, chips and other types of damage to your teeth, helping you avoid procedures such as dental crowns to repair them.

TMD Treatment Options

Hand holding an occlusal splint for T M J therapy

We offer two main options for TMJ therapy:

Oral Appliances

Wearing either a nightguard or an occlusal splint offers a lot of relief for many people. Designed to reposition your jaws while you sleep, an oral appliance helps the muscles and joint function properly and reduces the tension in the TMJ. A nightguard also absorbs the force on your teeth to prevent chips, fractures, and other damage.

Occlusal Adjustment

“Occlusal” refers to your bite and how your teeth come together. By making small adjustments to the chewing surfaces of your teeth, we can correct your bite, take the pressure off the TMJ, and reduce the likelihood that you’ll clench and grind.

To further reduce the inflammation and pain associated with TMD, we may recommend combining one of these therapies with stress management techniques, massage, applying a warm compress to the area, or the occasional use of anti-inflammatory medications.

TMJ Treatment FAQs

X-ray of person’s head with jaw highlighted

Jaw pain doesn’t need to be a permanent part of your life – not when Los Gatos Dental Group is offering multiple methods of relief. You may not know what to expect from your TMJ treatment at first, but that’s precisely why we encourage all of our patients to voice their concerns whenever they visit our office. To help you feel a little more prepared for your treatment, here are the answers to a few questions that may be on your mind.

Do Occlusal Adjustments for TMJ Hurt?

The amount of enamel removed for an occlusal adjustment is very small; we will only take off enough to allow your jaw joints to relax. Additionally, your mouth will be numbed at the beginning of the procedure. As such, you’ll be able to remain comfortable while we are making the necessary changes to your teeth.

Your mouth will likely be mildly sore for a few days. If you need to, you can take some over-the-counter painkillers. Eventually, the discomfort should fade on its own.

How Long Does It Take for a TMJ Splint to Work?

Your symptoms won’t suddenly vanish after your first night of wearing an oral appliance (although you can typically expect to see an improvement fairly early on). The goal of oral appliance therapy is to correct the position of your jaw so that your TMJs can relax; however, it will take some time to achieve full relief.

It’s difficult to say exactly how long you will need to wear your oral appliance. For many patients, the treatment can be around three to six months; however, it could potentially take more or less time than that based on your symptoms. We can discuss the timetable for your TMJ therapy at your initial consultation following a detailed examination of your jaw.

Can TMJ Be Cured Permanently?

The good news is yes, it is possible to permanently cure a TMJ disorder. In fact, in some cases, the discomfort it causes will go away by itself. If treatment is required, oral appliances and occlusal adjustments can both help you achieve long-term relief. This is because they are target issues that can directly contribute to TMJ discomfort. By addressing the source of the problem, you will have a better chance of overcoming your TMJ disorder for good.

Is TMJ Treatment Covered by Insurance?

Some insurance policies will help pay for TMJ therapy while others might not. You should review your plan and double-check with your insurance carrier to see what coverage is available for TMJ-related services.

TMJ therapy is sometimes covered by dental insurance. However, in many cases, it will fall under medical insurance instead. This is due to the fact that the condition is caused by a problem with one of your joints, which makes it a non-dental issue; at the same time, there are specific forms of TMJ therapy that can only be performed by a dentist. If you’re confused about which insurance policy will help pay for your TMJ disorder, our team can assist you.