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Where we do
“one size fits one” dentistry

Where we do
“one size fits one” dentistry

TMJ Symptoms and Treatment

What is TMJ disorder?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint between your jaw and the skull. When issues occur in the TMJ, they can lead to a variety of painful symptoms that often require a multi-faceted approach to treatment. 

The causes of TMJ disorders (sometimes referred to as TMD) are diverse and can include jaw injury, teeth grinding or clenching (also called bruxism), arthritis in the jaw joint, malocclusion (misalignment of teeth), and stress. 

Certain habits, like using teeth as tools, poor posture, chewing on non-food items, excessive gum chewing, taking large bites of food, and teeth clenching or grinding, can exacerbate the condition.

Symptoms of TMJ

TMJ symptoms vary widely among individuals but common symptoms include:
  • jaw pain
  • facial pain
  • shoulder and neck pain
  • stiffness in the jaw
  • difficulty opening or closing the mouth
  • restricted jaw movement 
  • jaw popping or clicking
  • headaches and migraines
  • ear pain
  • toothaches
  • tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • changes in how the teeth fit together
If you are looking for a TMJ dentist in San Diego, the compassionate TMJ treatment team at Point Loma Comprehensive Dental can help ease temporomandibular joint disorder and its associated symptoms. 
Dr. De Rosier has a great deal of experience with TMJ treatment and bite therapy, and is the best TMJ dentist in San Diego. He can identify the cause of your jaw joint pain and offer non-surgical treatment options to protect your teeth, realign your bite, and alleviate pain associated with TMJ disorder.

TMJ and Sleep Apnea

Temporomandibular joint disorders and sleep apnea can be interrelated, and in fact, sleep apnea is a common symptom of a TMJ disorder. 
Sleep apnea is the disruption of one’s breathing while asleep, and because TMJ affects the jaw and jaw muscles, the two conditions can exacerbate one another.
Sleep apnea can worsen TMJ disorders by prompting the brain to signal the jaw muscles to contract in an effort to stabilize the airway, leading to repeated clenching. This nighttime bruxism can cause wear on the teeth and joints, exacerbating TMJ symptoms such as jaw pain, tightness, and migraines. 
Moreover, the effort to correct airway obstructions by pushing the lower jaw forward during sleep can result in jaw clicking and added stress on the TMJ, further linking the conditions.
The association between TMJ disorders and obstructive sleep apnea is significant, although research continues to explore the depth of this relationship. 
It’s suggested that those at high risk of sleep disorders or displaying key symptoms (such as loud snoring and daytime sleepiness) also have a higher likelihood of developing TMJ issues. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a common thread between the two disorders, indicating a possible shared risk factor or symptomatic overlap.

What Causes TMJ Flare-ups?

For those already prone to TMJ issues, flare-ups can be caused by a variety of physical and mental factors:

  • Stress and tension can cause the muscles in the jaw to tighten, leading to discomfort and pain in TMJ.
  • Trauma to the jaw or head can cause inflammation in the TMJ, leading to flare-ups.
  • Clenching or grinding the teeth (bruxism) can put extra strain on the TMJ and lead to discomfort, such as a sore jaw.
  • Arthritis in the TMJ can cause inflammation and pain.
  • If the jaw is misaligned or the upper and lower teeth are not properly aligned, it can cause strain on the TMJ and lead to flare-ups.
  • Poor posture can cause tension in the muscles around the TMJ, leading to discomfort.


It’s important to note that the cause of TMJ flare-ups can vary from person to person, and it is necessary to contact us for an appointment to determine the specific cause and the best TMJ treatment plan.

What is the best doctor to see for TMJ? 

If you are experiencing pain related to your jaw movement, you should see a dentist. San Diego area dentists like Dr. De Rosier don’t just treat oral health but are trained in the anatomy and function of the jaw, jaw joints, teeth, and surrounding structures.  

Through a thorough evaluation of your bite and jaw alignment, Dr. De Rosier can determine if any issues with your teeth or jaw may contribute to your TMJ pain. Bite therapy solutions can often alleviate pain, allowing many patients to find relief while avoiding invasive surgery.

Before seeing your primary care doctor for TMJ pain, schedule a comprehensive evaluation with Dr. De Rosier, who has extensive experience in bite therapy and TMJ and can find an effective treatment that allows you to live pain-free.

TMJ Treatment

The Jaw Joint

TMJ and Sleep Apnea Therapy