The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is very complex in the human body. It connects the lower jaw to the upper jaw and allows free movement of the lower jaw. Temporomandibular disorder (TMD), previously known as TMJ disorder, is a condition that affects these jaw joints together with surrounding ligaments, discs, bones, and muscles. 

When this happens, the temporomandibular joint malfunctions. The jaw dislocates or locks momentarily, and it can also make rattling sounds as the mouth opens and closes.


Although the exact cause of TMD is unknown, the following are some possible causes of TMD: 

  • Arthritis

This is secondary to infectious arthritis, osteoarthritis, or rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Trauma

This rarely happens due to extreme pains, such as the pain that comes with a hard pull on the mandible during tooth removal.

  • Hypermobility

Hypermobility happens when the ligaments holding the TMJ become overstretched. It is also known as mandibular looseness.

  • Dislocation of TMJ

In this case, the disc in the joint moves away from its normal position. Most times, this occurs due to a damaged joint or overstretched ligaments.

  • Myofascial pain syndrome

This is referred to as muscle pain or tension. It occurs mostly due to sleep difficulty, dental pain, or emotional stress.

  • Ankylosis

This refers to the loss of joint movement due to bony fusion between the surface of the joints. This condition is also known as calcification.

TMJ treatment in Laguna Niguel will be based on the cause of the syndrome, and this is why you should avoid self medications and see a TMJ Dentist Laguna Niguel.


The symptoms of TMD differ depending on the cause of the disorder; for example, people with myofascial pain syndrome experience tension on both sides of the face when they wake in the morning or after a hectic day. General symptoms of TMJ to look out for include:

  • Chronic headache
  • Rattling sounds in the mouth
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Dizziness
  • Severe pain around the neck
  • Difficulty in opening the mouth

It’s hard to diagnose TMD based on only one of these symptoms, but if you experience any of the above, visit a TMD dentist in Laguna Niguel will examine and give you appropriate prescriptions.


There are different treatments for TMD depending on the cause of the disorder. The following are some of the TMD treatments in Laguna Niguel:

  1. Self-treatment

Sometimes, you don’t have to visit a TMJ Dentistry in Laguna Niguel, and there are certain self-help measures you can take to reduce the pain of TMJ, including:

  • Avoid hard foods, chew slowly and carefully, and avoid opening your mouth wide to reduce the muscle tension on the joints.
  • Sleep adequately in a comfortable and quiet environment. This helps the body heal faster and reduces the pain.
  • Ensure the upper and lower teeth are not clamped during the day. This also reduces the stress on the TMJ and stops the habit of clenching the teeth.
  • Apply moist heat to the affected muscles.
  • Maintain a good sitting posture. This aids the recovery of the shoulder muscles and jaws.
  1. Pharmacological treatment

This involves the use of drugs for treatment. Muscle relaxants like cyclobenzaprine help to relieve pain and stress. Analgesics like paracetamol and other NSAIDs also help to reduce pain. For chronic conditions, antidepressants may be recommended. Sometimes, sedatives are used for individuals who find it difficult to sleep.

  1. Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy involves the use of ultrasound, stretch works, or electromyographic biofeedback. Sometimes, counseling on stress management is recommended together with electromyographic biofeedback. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) also helps relax the muscles and joints.


Although some of these TMJ treatments have been helpful to some individuals, there are certain disadvantages of some of the current treatments which have made many criticize them. The following are some of the TMJ syndrome treatments that have been criticized:

  1. Surgery

This treatment option is not advisable because once done, it is not reversible. Another factor is that its effectiveness and safety have not been studied. Hence it is not advisable to try it on humans. Something, implants are used for jaw surgery; in cases where these implants fail to work properly, it leads to increased pain and causes more damage to the jaw.

  1. Pharmacological treatment

The use of drugs has also been criticized due to the following reasons:

  • It causes addiction: Some of these drugs, such as opiate painkillers, are addictive. Once patients get used to them, it’s difficult to stop their use.
  • They are not curative: The drugs are only used for a short period, at most a month. They are also not recommended for elderly patients.
  • Drug interactions: Some of these over-the-counter drugs interact with other drugs to cause serious adverse effects and worsen the condition.

It is advisable to see a TMD dentist in Laguna Niguel before deciding on the best treatment for you. In surgery cases, be sure to confirm with other dentists before you make the final decision. If you are experiencing jaw soreness, headaches, facial pain, or any of the other painful symptoms of TMD, please call Laguna Niguel Orthodontics at (949) 831-7790 to learn more about our dentistry services. Our team serves all of Laguna Niguel, CA, and surrounding areas.