TMJ Specialist

Jason  H. Kim, MD, FACS -  - Otolaryngology

Jason H. Kim, MD, FACS

Otolaryngology & Ear Nose and Throat Specialist Orange County, CA

Jaw pain that doesn’t go away may be a sign of an underlying structural problem in your temporomandibular joints (TMJs). As a board-certified otolaryngologist and experienced facial plastic surgeon in Fullerton, California, Jason H. Kim, MD, provides an accurate diagnosis and customized, state-of-the-art treatments for TMJ disorders. Get relief from TMJ pain and discomfort from an expert in the field. Book an appointment online or call the office to schedule a consultation.

TMJ Q & A

What is TMJ?

Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders occur when you have pain and dysfunction in your jaw joints. On each side of your head, you have a temporomandibular joint in front of each ear that connects your jawbone to your skull. These joints function like hinges so you can easily open and close your mouth or slide your lower jaw forward and side to side.

The temporomandibular joints are among the most complex joints in your body. When TMJ disorders occur, it’s usually the result of:

  • A dislocated jaw as a result of injury
  • Problems with the muscles that control jaw movement
  • Arthritis in the joint
  • Jaw misalignment

TMJ disorders can be acute, or you may suffer from pain and other symptoms for the long term. Jaw pain is often a combination of underlying factors, such as genetics or the habit of clenching and grinding your teeth due to stress.

What are the symptoms of TMJ disorders?

TMJ symptoms often include:

  • Jaw pain and tenderness
  • Earaches
  • Headaches
  • Facial pain
  • Pain while chewing
  • Difficulty opening your mouth
  • Popping or cracking sounds and sensation when you chew

In most cases, you can manage TMJ disorders with lifestyle changes, such as avoiding hard or chewy foods, exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles, and practicing relaxation techniques to reduce stress and tension. Additionally, a custom mouth guard you wear while you sleep may help alleviate symptoms.

In rare cases, you may need surgery to correct chronic TMJ disorders. Dr. Kim specializes in all areas of facial, head, and neck surgeries. He takes the least-invasive approach possible so you get long-term relief from symptoms with minimal downtime.

What types of TMJ surgeries and procedures can relieve symptoms?

Depending on the underlying cause of your TMJ pain, Dr. Kim may suggest minimally invasive surgical and nonsurgical procedures to relieve pain and pressure in your jaw. These include:

  • Arthrocentesis to drain fluid and debris from the joints
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Arthroscopic surgery

When more conservative treatments don’t alleviate symptoms, open surgery to repair or replace a temporomandibular joint may be the last type of procedure to consider. Dr. Kim discusses your treatment options and customizes a plan that works best for your symptoms and lifestyle.

If you’ve been experiencing jaw pain for longer than a few weeks, it may be time to consult a medical professional. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Kim, call the office or request an appointment using the convenient online booking system.