TMJ Specialist

Richard Hardt, D.D.S

General & Cosmetic Dentistry located in Porterville, CA

If persistent jaw pain makes it difficult to open and close your mouth or chew food, Dr. Richard Hardt, DDS, and Dr. Lawryn Monterroso, DDS, at Richard Hardt, D.D.S. in Porterville, California, provide effective solutions for treating TMJ-related pain. Whether you need an oral appliance or a referral for surgery, Dr. Monterosso and Dr. Hardt provide you with the right guidance for correcting chronic jaw pain and other TMJ symptoms. To learn more, schedule a TMJ evaluation by phone or using the online booking feature.

TMJ Q & A

Richard Hardt, D.D.S

What is TMJ?

Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) works like a hinge and connects your jaw to your skull. On each side of your jaw is a joint that makes movement possible.

TMJ disorder is a condition where you experience persistent pain in your jaw joint and the muscles that allow your jaw to move freely.


What causes TMJ?

TMJ disorder may be caused by several different things, including genetics or conditions like arthritis. A jaw injury might also result in TMJ pain.

If you have a tendency to clench your jaw or grind your teeth, you may be at increased risk for developing TMJ.


What are the symptoms of TMJ?

Common symptoms of TMJ include:

  • Tenderness or pain in your jaw
  • Pain in one or both jaw joints
  • Dull ache around your ear
  • Difficulty chewing without pain
  • Noticeable clicking sound when you move your jaw


In some cases, the joints of your jaw may lock up, making it difficult for you to open or close your mouth.

You should seek treatment for TMJ disorder at Richard, Hardt D.D.S. if your pain becomes severe or you’re unable to move your jaw to speak or chew without experiencing pain.


How is TMJ diagnosed?

Dr. Hardt and Dr. Monterroso have a great deal of experience diagnosing TMJ disorder, and often confirm the condition during an oral evaluation. They listen to the sounds your jaw makes when moving and analyze the range of motion you have in your jaw joints.

You may also need X-rays of your jaw to check for problems with the discs in your jaw joint.


How is TMJ treated?

Initially, treatment for TMJ symptoms may involve over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatories to keep you comfortable.

Dr. Hardt or Dr. Monterroso may recommend a mouthguard if your TMJ pain is related to teeth grinding or jaw clenching. The mouthguard also protects your teeth from unnecessary wear that might lead to cracks and breaks.

If TMJ symptoms are more severe, you may need surgery to correct the issues with your jaw. Dr. Hardt and Dr. Monterosso refer you to a skilled surgeon for further TMJ treatment if this is necessary.

To learn more about treating TMJ, call Richard Hardt, D.D.S. in Porterville, California, or use online booking to schedule a consultation today.