The Orofacial Pain & TMJ Center at Spark Sleep Solutions focuses exclusively on the screening, treatment, and follow up of Orofacial Pain, Temporomandibular (TMJ) Disorders, Obstructive Sleep Apnea, and Snoring. We provide comprehensive treatment by closely understanding the cause of your symptoms. Dr. Diep is on the teaching faculty of UCLA Center for East-West Medicine and at the UCLA School of Dentistry. She completed a two-year full time residency in Orofacial Pain and Sleep Medicine at UCLA, and received advanced Integrative medicine training at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine.
The temporomandibular joints or TMJ are the joints located on the side of your head which allow you to open and close your mouth. These joints work in unison with your jaw muscles, ligaments, and jaw bone when you speak, chew, and swallow. A temporomandibular jaw dysfunction or TMD is an umbrella term that covers pain and dysfunction of the muscles that move the jaw as well as the temporomandibular joints which connect the jaw to the skull.
People with TMJ often complain of many symptoms including jaw pain or tenderness, pain in or around the ear, chewing difficulty or pain while chewing and aching facial pain. Many people with TMJ also hear a clicking sound when they open their mouth or chew food.
The causes of TMJ can include arthritis, teeth clenching habits, degenerative bone disorder, jaw dislocation or injury, or simply a malocclusion like overbite or underbite.
How is TMJ Related to Sleeping?
There is a strong correlation between TMJ and other sleep-related conditions such as sleep apnea. Our body’s actions during sleep can also impact how we feel throughout the day. Any strain on the jaw can cause a person’s TMJ-related conditions, and the pain they experience, to intensify. Due to stress during the day, lack of oxygen/breathing during sleep (sleep apnea or snoring), or other influences, our body may tense and spasm as a response. These conditions may cause our body to clench the jaws extremely hard and thrust our jaw forward and to the sides. Jaw muscles are one of the strongest muscles in the body and can cause a widespread impact on all associated muscles such as the face, head, neck, shoulders and back.
Throughout the Los Gatos, San Jose, San Ramon, and Santa Cruz areas, our goal at Spark Sleep Solutions is to ensure our patients have:
- Less pressure on the jaw
- Support for the head, neck, and shoulders
- The best alignment of the body- keeping the spine, neck, and head in a neutral position
- Less jaw muscle spasms and clenching/grinding of teeth
The Goal of TMJ/TMD Sleep Solution Treatments
When treating TMJ, our goal is to:
- Relieve pain
- Restore function
- Prevent progression of the disorder
It is recommended by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) to try simple TMJ treatments before going on to more involved treatment. Some of these simple treatments include:
- Eating softer foods
- Avoiding biting your nails and chewing gum
- Using heating pads to control pain
- Practicing relaxation techniques to control jaw tension
- Sleeping on your back, instead of on your stomach
If you are diagnosed with TMJ/TMD, we can provide you with therapy that can help remove unhealthy pressure from the jaw joint and promote muscle relaxation. This will help your jaw joint position itself into the optimal position, relieving your symptoms and improving the function of your jaw.
If therapy is not enough, another effective way of treating TMJ is through the use of a customized TMJ oral device which is essentially an sleeping mouthpiece. This type of treatment can bring relief to the overworked muscles of your jaw and face to help resolve your TMJ symptoms. The sleeping mouthpiece device can help your jaw muscles find their most comfortable, natural ‘resting place” that often reduces the painful symptoms of TMJ. For patients using our appliances, we also recommend specific exercises, stretches, and massages that work to optimize muscle and joint health.
Schedule an Appointment with our Orofacial Pain & TMJ Experts Today!
While TMJ therapy or a TMJ oral devices can help correct your bite and decrease the symptoms you’re experiencing, the only way to find out what the best treatment option is for you is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Diep at The Orofacial Pain & TMJ Center at Spark Sleep Solutions in Los Gatos, San Jose, San Ramon, Santa Cruz, or Sunnyvale. Once our team has provided you with a comprehensive examination, our experts will work with you to find the most appropriate treatment option. To set up an appointment with our team, simply call us at (408)-490-0182.