If your bite is not aligned properly, it can force the jaw into a non-optimum position. You may feel pain in facial muscles, hear clicking or popping sounds when you move your jaw, or experience other symptoms of an unbalanced jaw system. If you are looking for the best full-service dentist Thousand Oaks has, you will find it at ModelSmile Dentistry and Dr. Chow.

What is TMJ? 

TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint, the hinge that connects the temporal bones in the skull to your jaw. They are positioned in front of both ears.

These hinges enable you to chew, talk, yawn, or manipulate the jaw so that it moves side to side and up and down. TMJ, or TMD (temporomandibular disorder), refers to problems associated with this joint, which can cause pain and interfere with normal functions of the mouth.

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What are the Symptoms of TMJ? 

People with TMJ often experience jaw pain, but there can be other symptoms as well.

  • Popping or clicking sounds when moving the jaw
  • Jaw that locks in an open or closed position
  • Severe pain and swelling in the jaw area
  • Dull pain in the jaw or muscles
  • Neck pain
  • Upper back pain
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • Dizziness
  • Earaches
  • Ringing in the ears

TMJ is more common with women than men, and most commonly occurs between the ages of 20 and 40.

What Causes TMJ?

There can be a variety of causes for TMJ. A few of the more common ones include:

  • Tightly clenching the jaw or grinding the teeth
  • Arthritis in the joint itself
  • Stress and tension, which leads to tight facial and jaw muscles or teeth clenching

Many people are very surprised to learn that some of their symptoms could be related to a problem with the jaw joint, such as headaches or neck pain. If Dr. Chow has diagnosed your symptoms as being associated with TMJ, he can help you correct the problem and get rid of the physical pain.


Since many symptoms of TMJ can actually be caused by other conditions, it's important to obtain a correct diagnosis. Dr. Chow will perform a gentle yet thorough exam to see if your difficulties stem from TMJ. He will want to see how your jaw and the surrounding joint tissue are functioning and how your jaw is positioned when it is at rest. He will check your bite and any possible problems with your facial muscles. X-rays of the jaws and temporomandibular joint may also be needed.

Dr. Chow will also obtain a detailed patient history in addition to his exam to correctly diagnose the source of your symptoms. Many of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions, such as tooth decay, gum disease, or problems with the sinus.

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Treating TMJ

If Dr. Chow diagnoses TMJ, he can create a custom-made night guard to wear while sleeping. He also may create a splint, a guard that you wear all day and night. These guards effectively keep your jaw in the correct position and also prevent any grinding or clenching you may be doing unconsciously.

For some patients, he has also successfully used Botox injections to immediately alleviate severe headaches caused by tension in the jaw. Patients have stated that the difference, once treatment is started, is very noticeable right away. No more agonizing pain or other unpleasant symptoms. One's quality of life can dramatically change when TMJ is correctly treated.

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Getting Rid of Your Pain

You don't have to continue suffering with jaw pain or other unwanted discomforts due to TMJ. Dr. Chow and his staff understand how disruptive this can be and are excited to help you live without pain.

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