TMJ Specialist

Lori Ann Safar, DDS -  - General & Cosmetic Dentist

Celebrity Smile | Lori Ann Safar, DDS

General & Cosmetic Dentist located in Torrey Hills, CA

Waking up with a sore jaw and gum swelling could be a sign that you have worsening TMJ symptoms. With the right treatment plan, Lori Safar, DDS, at Celebrity Smile in Torrey Hills, California, can help alleviate your dull aches and pains so you can get back to living your life. Call or book an appointment online today to learn more.


What is TMJ?

Temporomandibular joint disorder, commonly referred to as TMD or TMJ, is a jaw disorder that occurs when the hinge-like temporomandibular joint in your mouth becomes inflamed. While the pain is usually temporary, those periods of relief can be few and far between as the joint inflammation progresses.

Some patients with TMJ suffer from mild discomfort and jaw tightness, but others are in constant pain.

What are the symptoms of TMJ?

TMJ affects each patient differently, but the most common warning signs of the disorder include:

  • Sore jaw
  • Jaw Pain
  • Gum inflammation
  • Pain while chewing
  • Jaw clicking
  • Lockjaw
  • Headaches
  • Jaw tightness
  • Facial sensitivity
  • Ear pain

TMJ pain can be unbearable for some patients, especially if their symptoms begin to worsen, which is why it’s important to create a treatment plan with Dr. Safar at the first sign of jaw tightness and pain.

What causes TMJ?

The exact cause of your TMJ may be hard to determine, but some risk factors include:

  • Family history or genetics
  • Previous injury
  • Teeth grinding or jaw clenching
  • Joint arthritis
  • Stress
  • Tooth and jaw alignment problems

In many cases, a combination of common factors cause TMJ to flare up and worsen over time.

Do I have treatment options?

In addition to at-home treatments like jaw strengthening exercises, relaxation techniques, and warm compresses, Dr. Safar offers a wide variety of options to relieve jaw pain and prevent your TMJ symptoms from worsening:

Nighttime mouth guards

If you suffer from TMJ, a nighttime mouth guard will help separate your teeth while you sleep to prevent teeth grinding, which puts pressure on your jaw joints. It also helps correct your bite and puts your teeth in a more correct position to even out alignment issues.

Injection Therapy

Injection therapy work by immobilizing and relaxing the muscles in your face, which prevents your skin from wrinkling. For TMJ, it works in the same way. An injection into your jaw will relax your muscles to stop them from tensing up and clenching, giving you the relief you need to get through the day.


In most cases, jaw surgery is a last resort treatment for TMJ. During an arthroscopy procedure, Dr. Safar will make a small incision through the front of your ear to take a look at your temporomandibular joint. Depending on the case, your inflamed tissue with either be removed, or your joint will be realigned.

Call Celebrity Smile today or book an appointment online to learn more about TMJ and your treatment options.