Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.

TMJ Specialist

Pendleton Orthodontics

Ryan Pendleton, DDS

Orthodontics located in Leander, TX

Temporomandibular joint disorders (or TMJD) often come from teeth grinding and tend to result in persistent pain and jaw stiffness, among other symptoms. Orthodontist Ryan Pendleton, DDS, specializes in managing TMJ pain at Pendleton Orthodontics in Leander, Texas. To find out if you need treatment for a TMJ disorder, call the office or book an appointment online today.

TMJ Q&A

What are TMJ disorders?

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders are issues affecting the joints that allow you to bite, speak, clench your jaw, and yawn. These are your temporomandibular joints, and they’re located on either side of your face. They connect your lower jaw to your upper jaw (or skull). 

It’s typically pretty hard to pinpoint the cause or causes behind TMJ disorders. Sometimes, arthritis affects these joints. In other cases, the structure of your jaw is to blame. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common habit that can lead to TMJ issues and tooth wear or breakage. 

During your treatment consultation at Pendleton Orthodontics, Dr. Pendleton and the team examine your jaw and observe its range of motion. They take digital X-rays or CT scans to view the joint up close and look for signs of erosion to the disc, cartilage, or soft tissue. 

What are some common signs of a TMJ disorder?

TMJ disorders have distinctive symptoms that can come and go or stick around and get worse with time. Due to damage in the joints on one or both sides of your face, you might experience:

  • Pain near your ears or temples
  • Jaw stiffness
  • Jaw locking
  • Tooth alignment changes
  • Clicking or popping sounds when you open or close your mouth
  • A grating sensation when you open or close your mouth
  • Neck and/or shoulder pain

Sometimes, mild TMJ symptoms will go away without any professional treatment. You should visit with Dr. Pendleton to consider your treatment options if you have persistent pain or if your TMJ disorder limits your jaw movement. 

How are TMJ disorders treated?

Since you constantly need to use your jaw for several purposes, you probably want to treat your TMJ disorder and eliminate the pain and stiffness as soon as possible. At Pendleton Orthodontics, Dr. Pendleton has developed a number of effective treatment methods to alleviate jaw pain and any other symptoms from the issue.

Your personalized treatment plan for TMJ disorders might involve:

  • Oral splints
  • Physical therapy
  • Medication management 
  • Joint injections
  • Education about harmful habits, like clenching or bruxism

Dr. Pendleton prioritizes nonsurgical treatments for TMJ disorders, but orthognathic (jaw) surgery can treat the underlying issue when these approaches don’t provide lasting relief. Open joint surgery or minimally invasive arthroscopic surgery can remove debris or replace the joint if the damage is extensive enough, but this should only be considered as an option of last resort. 

TMJ disorders tend to benefit from conservative treatments you can get at Pendleton Orthodontics. Call the office or book an appointment online for a consultation today.