Nathan Muaina, DMD -  - Dentist

Southern Hills Dental

Nathan Muaina, DMD

Dentist located in Garland, TX

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) in your jaw opens and closes your mouth, and TMJ disorders cause jaw pain and discomfort. Dr. Nathan Muaina treats TMJ disorders at Southern Hills Dental in Garland, Texas. He offers the innovative treatments you need to self-manage this condition. If you notice symptoms like jaw clicking and think you might have TMJ disorder, call or schedule an appointment online today.


What’s TMJ disorder?

The two temporomandibular joints (TMJ) in your jaw operate as a sliding hinge and attach the jawbone to the skull. TMJ disorder causes pain in your jaw joint and the muscles responsible for normal jaw function.

The exact cause of TMJ disorder is not always easy to determine. The pain could be the result of genetics, an underlying condition like arthritis, an injury, or trauma. A common risk factor for TMJ is grinding or clenching your teeth.

In most cases, the pain from TMJ disorders is manageable without serious surgical intervention and eventually subsides on its own.

How do I know if I have TMJ disorder?

Here are some of the most common symptoms of a TMJ disorder:

  • Jaw pain or tenderness
  • Aching pain in and around your ears
  • Pain while chewing
  • Aching, general facial pain
  • Difficulty opening or closing your mouth

You may also notice a clicking sound or feel a grating sensation when you open and close your mouth, especially when chewing food. If you don’t feel any pain or restriction of jaw movement in connection with jaw clicking, your TMJ disorder most likely isn’t serious and probably doesn’t require treatment.

Dr. Muaina discusses your symptoms and diagnoses TMJ disorder after a thorough physical exam. He listens to the opening and closing of your mouth, evaluates the range of motion of your jaw, and palpates your jaw to identify areas where you feel pain.

How’s TMJ disorder treated?

If you receive a TMJ disorder diagnosis, Dr. Muaina typically recommends you eat a soft food diet. In many cases, a diet that requires minimal chewing for 2-3 weeks allows your jaw enough time to heal and recover. Some delicious soft foods include:

  • Yogurt
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Cottage cheese
  • Soup
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Fruit smoothies

He also recommends cutting cut your food into small pieces, may prescribe medications to relieve pain, and shows you how to perform at-home jaw muscle exercises.

For more serious cases of TMJ disorder, Dr. Muaina fits you with a splint that prevents your upper and lower teeth from touching — to stop the grinding or clenching of teeth. Splints relieve the pressure on your TMJs and muscles, so they can relax and heal. Dr. Muaina provides you with instructions regarding when and how long you should wear the splint.

If you suspect you have a TMJ disorder, call or use the online booking tool today and schedule an appointment at the office.