Top Menu


TMJ/TMD Treatment in Escondido

TMJ/TMD Treatments in Escondido, CA

If you are experiencing unexplained headaches and migraines, “popping” jaw muscles, jaw pain, or difficulties sleeping soundly, you may have a temporomandibular joint disorder, commonly called TMJ or TMD. At Douglas G. Hope, DDS, we specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ/TMD. Our Escondido dental staff help you understand the root cause of your condition and take the appropriate steps to eliminate jaw pain, discomfort, and dysfunction.  

TMJ pain

Causes of TMJ/TMD

TMJ/TMD can be caused by many different things. One of the most common causes is teeth grinding (also called bruxism). Bruxism puts an enormous amount of strain on your jaw muscles, and can lead to the irritation and inflammation of your temporomandibular joint, resulting in TMJ/TMD. Arthritis can also cause the joint to stiffen, which is common in older patients. Impact injuries can also cause TMJ/TMD by “knocking” the joint out of alignment, or directly damaging the ligaments and tendons.

Escondido dentist explains procedure to patient

Treatment Options

The treatment for TMJ/TMD depends on the root cause of the issue. TMJ/TMD caused by bruxism, for example, is usually treated with a mouthguard and lifestyle changes to help reduce stress. TMJ/TMD caused by arthritis can be treated with most arthritis medications, and corticosteroids, if the pain is severe. There are some severe cases in which oral surgery is required to relieve pressure and restore the joint, but this is quite rare. Surgery is typically only required for cases of TMJ/TMD that are caused by a serious impact injury, such as a slip and fall or a car accident.

Dentist cleans the teeth of a dental patient
Escondido dentist explains procedure to patient
Perfect smile

Pain Relief

One of the reasons that TMJ/TMD is so hard to treat is that it can be caused by many different injuries, lifestyle choices, and conditions. Unless you narrow down the cause of your TMJ/TMD, you may not get the right treatment. Dr. Hope is an expert and when you come in for TMJ/TMD treatment, he will discuss every aspect of your symptoms, and help you determine the best treatment plan for you. If you’re near Valley Center, San Marcos, or Rancho Bernardo drop by our office at 511 E 2nd Ave, Escondido, CA 92025 or call us at (760) 480-8883 for an appointment.

The Common Symptoms Of TMJ/TMD

Most people with TMJ/TMD will experience at least one or more of the following symptoms. 

  • Headaches – Headaches are common in people experiencing TMJ/TMD, and they usually center around the ears, since this is where the joint is located.
  • Radiating jaw pain – Prolonged, radiating pain from the ear and jaw is a common symptom of TMJ/TMD. This can be minor or extremely uncomfortable, depending on the extent of your condition.
  • Tenderness when chewing – You may feel tenderness and discomfort when chewing, particularly if you are eating tough, fibrous, or hard foods that require a lot of force and effort to chew.
  • Clicking and popping jaw – When opening your jaw widely, you may hear and feel “clicking” and “popping” sounds. These can be uncomfortable and painful.
  • Jaw locking – In severe cases, TMJ dysfunction can cause the joint to “lock” in place and stop you from opening or closing your jaw fully. 

TMJ/TMD can be caused by a lot of different contributing factors. Accordingly, the exact symptoms of TMJ/TMD can vary widely between patients. Some patients may experience only minor symptoms like headaches, while others may experience restricted jaw movement, debilitating pain, and other such serious problems. 

Woman grinding teeth
Escondido dentist explains procedure to patient
TMJ dental patient

How Is TMJ/TMD Diagnosed At The Dentist?

There is no standardized diagnosis procedure for TMJ/TMD at the dentist, so a variety of different steps and procedures may be used to determine the extent of your condition at the office of Dr. Douglas G. Hope. 

To begin with, Dr. Hope will discuss your jaw pain and symptoms with you, and compare these to the common symptoms experienced by those suffering from TMJ/TMD. He’ll ask how long you’ve been experiencing symptoms, discuss their intensity and when they happen, and get as much information as possible to help diagnose your issue.

In addition to this, Dr. Hope will ask about habits, recent injuries and incidents, and health conditions that could be contributing to your condition. For example, if you grind your teeth, have arthritis, or have suffered from a blow to the side of the face, this would be taken into account while diagnosing your condition, since these can all be causes or contributing factors for TMJ/TMD.

He will also examine your jaw and your bite, check your range of motion, and perform other such physical examinations to check for the signs and symptoms of TMJ/TMD, like jaw pain and jaw locking.

In addition to these diagnostic steps, Dr. Hope may recommend that you get an x-ray or CT scan of your jaw, or even an MRI, in some cases. Imaging the jaw joints, musculature, and bones can provide insights into the cause of TMJ/TMD, and ensure that your condition is diagnosed properly. 

In some cases, it may be necessary for Dr. Hope to work with other medical specialists to identify TMJ/TMD and determine the proper treatment for your case. With his years of experience and patient-focused approach, you’ll get the care you need in Escondido. 


Providing dental care to support whole-body health.

AACD logo
American Dental Association logo
CODA logo