What Is TMJ?

Painful TMJDo You Have TMJ?

Get diagnosed and receive treatment.

TMJ is the abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint—the connection between the lower jaw (mandible) and the skull. When things are working normally, this joint opens and closes even and smoothly. Your teeth and jaw close and interact with perfect alignment.

Other times, however, things can get a little “out of whack.” TMJ disorders can cause jaw pain, clicking or popping within the joint, and headaches. It may be hard to identify the problems without a professional evaluation, so if you notice these symptoms, contact us today at (916) 483-5900 to schedule an appointment.

What’s going on?

TMJ problems may be the symptom of other underlying causes. There may be nothing at all wrong with the joint itself. It hurts because there is disruption affecting your bite alignment. We call this condition a malocclusion, (which literally translates to “bad bite”). Minute differences in opposing teeth cause them to strike, creating an overall unevenness to your jaw’s alignment. Alternatively, you may be subconsciously clenching or grinding your teeth, either during the day or at night. We call this condition bruxism, and it can have a devastating effect on your tooth enamel, as well as lead to ongoing soreness of the jaw.

What TMJ treatments are available?

Whatever the cause of your TMJ problem, we have the knowledge and resources to ease your pain and correct the issue. There are several options for treatment, depending on the findings of our thorough examination. The first step is often an occlusal splint. This is a special mouthguard that’s used to correct your bite, and also prevent damage from clenching and grinding. The mouthguard, worn at night, relieves the uneven pressure from your jaw, providing effective relief.

Furthermore, if we notice extensive damage to your teeth or areas of pressure due to malocclusion, we can provide an occlusal adjustment. This process involves making slight alterations that reshape your teeth, so they come tother correctly for a perfect bite. We may selectively remove material in the “high points” or build-up the tooth and restore damage with restorations such as dental crowns or bridges.

If you have symptoms of TMJ and think you might benefit from these treatments, please contact us today for a consultation!

About Dr. William J. Black

William Black earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry from the University of California, Davis in 1988. He then went on to the UCLA School of Dentistry where he graduated in 1992. Following dental school, Dr. Black served in the U.S. Navy for 3 years as a dentist. He then settled in the Sacramento area where he opened his practice in 1996. Dr. Black is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), California Dental Association (CDA), Sacramento District Dental Society (SDDS), Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), and the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). He is currently pursuing Mastership with the Academy of General Dentistry and accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Black has 8 children, works actively with the Boy Scouts of America, and enjoys gardening.


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