If you’ve noticed a clicking in your jaw or have experienced pain in your jaw upon waking, this is the post for you. Those with temporomandibular joint pain searching for relief may wonder where they can find it. Some may consider visits to an ENT specialist or neurologist, but very few people think of scheduling an appointment with their dentist.

Here, Long Beach Dentist Dr. Stephen Coates DDS shares more information about the condition and treatment options.

What is TMJ?

Temporomandibular joints are found on the sides of your head, connecting your jaw to your skull. They are responsible for your ability to open and close your mouth, chew, and talk. Disorders related to these joints are associated with TMJ.

Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome (TMDS) affects a wide range of people. It can hamper the enjoyment of daily life and should be addressed early on.


Symptoms of TMDS include popping, clicking, or locking of the jaw. Some patients experience pain in the head and ears and tenderness in the jaw.

What Causes TMDS?

While there is usually no apparent reason for TMDS, the issue could have originated due to injury or dislocation of the jaw, constant teeth clenching, arthritis, a sleep breathing disorder, virus (HSV, shingles), and poor tooth or jaw alignment.

Diagnosing TMDS

Your dental professional will start with an examination, listen to your jaw, and observe your range of motion. They will next use dental x-rays, a CT scan, or MRI. Patients who visit Dr. Coates receive a thorough examination, and he uses an assessment of x-rays and patient history to make the correct diagnosis and offer treatment recommendations.

Treatment Options

If you are diagnosed with TMDS, the condition should receive treatment as it worsens over time or in stressful times. If left untreated, TMDS could cause erosion in the jawbone and loosening of the teeth. Dentists are your best option for treatment as they are specifically trained in the anatomy of the jaw and experts and diagnosing bite dysfunctions.

Dr. Coates can offer a custom-molded bite guard to counter teeth grinding during the night. He also can perform a bite relationship analysis and MAGO Splint Therapy for up to six months to return the joints to a stable position. BOTOX® therapy can help you relax your jaw muscles. Precision bite adjustments alleviate TMJ symptoms and improve the look of your smile. Dr. Coates can also screen for sleep breathing disorders which can trigger TMDS.

Dr. Coates may recommend orthodontic treatment to help realign your teeth and jaw. There are also a few simple at home treatments, including hot & cold pack application, anti-inflammatory medications, and relaxation techniques.

Turn to Dr. Stephen Coates DDS for TMJ Relief

Our dental team in Long Beach, CA is ready to discuss your symptoms and coordinate the right approach to treating your condition. Call our office today at 562-434-6414 or schedule your appointment online.