What is the temporomandibular joint?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is located just in front of each of your ears and connects the lower jaw to the rest of the skull. The TMJ is responsible for your jaw moving smoothly and comfortably when you speak, eat, or yawn. However, TMJ disorders occur when the TMJ becomes damaged or stressed. These disorders can be the cause of significant pain and discomfort. At Lifetime Smiles, we provide TMJ treatment in Escondido, California to relieve your pain and help you live life to the fullest again. TMJ disorders (sometimes referred to as TMD) is the result of improper movement of the jaw joint, and can be caused by trauma to the head, neck, or jaw, arthritis in the TMJ, stress, teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism), or other causes.

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Common symptoms of TMJ disorders include:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Pain when chewing or yawning
  • Grating, clicking, or popping sounds in the TMJ (jaw joint) when you open and close your mouth
  • Inability to open your mouth very wide
  • A “locked” or stuck jaw
  • Pain or tenderness of the face or jaw
  • Ear pain and ringing in the ears


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View this informative video on occlusal appliance for tooth wear

Our skilled dentists, Dr. McDonald & Dr. Mallakis, provide oral appliance therapy to treat TMJ disorders. The oral appliance fits over the teeth to balance the bite and restore proper movement in the jaw joint. Oral appliance therapy can also prevent teeth grinding and clenching, another possible cause of TMD. If you experience pain because of a TMJ disorder, we encourage you to contact us at Lifetime Smiles to find relief in a solution.