1610 West Yosemite, Suite #1, Manteca, CA 95337
Phone: (209) 824-7466 - Fax: (209) 824-7510
TMJ problems
The jaw joint, or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is one of
the most complex in the body.  Because of its complexity
and role in speech and eating, it is not unusual for it to
cause problems.  TMJ dysfunction is of particular interest
to Dr. Duong, as this was the focus of her research and
thesis during her orthodontic residency.

The term TMJ dysfunction encompasses a wide range of
problems.  Such problems can be related to stress,
hormone levels, or the bite of the teeth.  In as much as
there is a relationship between the jaw joints and the
teeth, orthodontic treatment is often indicated to help with
problems.  An understanding of the anatomy of the joint is
important in your understanding our role in treatment.
There are two “bites” the jaw can close into:  the best fit of the jaw joints, where the ball is
all the way in the socket, and the best fit of the teeth.  Usually, these two positions do not
match.  When the discrepancy between the two exceeds the body’s tolerance to overcome
it, TMJ pain or locking occurs.  

One of the primary goals of orthodontics is to align the teeth in such a way as to allow them
to close into their ideal bite when the jaw joints are in their ideal relationship.  This way,
there is no discrepancy between the two.

To determine what portion of a person’s TMJ problems are directly attributable to the
mismatch between these two bites, we will often use a “bite splint.”  This appliance simulates
the effect of an orthodontic correction of the teeth; it takes the teeth out of the equation and
allows the jaw joints to relax into their normal position.  

Some patients are maintained well on a bite splint, and never go on to further treatment.  
Others continue on with orthodontic treatment to rectify the discrepancy between the two
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