Calabasas / Woodland Hills TMJ Specialist
Dr. Susan Fredericks

At our state-of-the-art cosmetic dentistry practice in Calabasas and Woodland Hills, Dr. Fredericks and the team at Southern Cal Smiles helps TMJ patients overcome the pain and inflammation associated with temporomandibular joint disorder. She uses a variety of advanced techniques and technologies to treat TMJ and other neuromuscular and dental disorders.

Neuromuscular dentistry is founded on the belief that a healthy smile begins with healthy function. Neuromuscular treatment determines the optimal physiological position of the jaw by measuring the relaxed position of head and neck muscles and then repositions the jaw to achieve ideal occlusion, or bite position. The repositioning of the jaw to help diminish the debilitating effects of TMJ disorder is achieved with a comfortable orthotic mouth piece (fixed or removable) or restored teeth, or a combination of the two.

As a highly respected, seasoned dentist with 35 years of experience, Dr. Susan C. Fredericks:

  • Was voted “Best Dentist” by KCAL 9
  • Serves on the UCLA School of Dentistry Faculty
  • Is a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry
  • Is a member of the American Dental Association
  • Is a member of the California Dental Association
  • Volunteers her time and dental expertise to the non-profit group MEND (member of the Board of Directors in 2012; named Volunteer of the Year in 2011)

Girl with jaw pain from TMJ Does your jaw make a pesky popping or clicking noise while you chew? Do you wake up with facial or jaw pain or suffer from frequent headaches? If so, you might have temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.

If you suffer from a disorder affecting your TMJ, Dr. Susan C. Fredericks of Southern Cal Smiles can help. She has nearly 35 years of dentistry experience — including neuromuscular dentistry expertise — and can assist you in finding a solution to alleviate your TMJ pain.

What Is TMD, Exactly?

The TMJ is the hinged joint located in your jaw that allows your mouth to open and close. Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a degenerative condition that affects the TMJ.

More than 10 million people in the United States suffer from TMD, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. The condition generally affects adults between the ages of 20 and 40 years old, and typically affects women more than men.

What Causes TMD?

TMD is the result of excessive chronic stress on the temporomandibular joint. The causes of excessive stress on the TMJ may vary, however. A misaligned bite, a muscle imbalance, bruxism (teeth grinding) or trauma to the TMJ region are common causes of excessive TMJ stress that often lead to TMD.

Over time, the added tension on the TMJ causes the ligaments in the area to become elongated. In response to the overly stretched ligaments, the jaw muscles tend to shorten or lengthen. These developments lead to noticeable symptoms of TMD.

Symptoms of TMD

Temporomandibular joint disorder can present mild symptoms — such as a clicking, popping or grating sound while you chew — or very painful symptoms, such as severe migraines. TMD symptoms can be progressive, sporadic, temporary or permanent.

In addition to the aforementioned TMD symptoms, patients who suffer from the disorder often experience:

  • Pain or soreness throughout the head, face and / or jaw
  • A tired sensation throughout the face
  • Swelling throughout the face (on one or both sides)
  • Restricted range of motion of the mouth
  • “Locked” jaw
  • Difficulty or pain while chewing
  • Malocclusion (misaligned bite)
  • Toothaches
  • Earaches
  • Vertigo or dizziness
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Hearing problems

About Neuromuscular Dentistry

One possible treatment option for TMD involves neuromuscular dentistry, a branch of dentistry that is founded on the belief that a healthy smile begins with healthy function. With neuromuscular dental treatment, Dr. Fredericks determines the optimal physiological position of the jaw by measuring the relaxed position of head and neck muscles. She then recommends therapies that work to realign the jaw, such as wearing a comfortable fixed or removable orthotic mouth piece or a restorative dental treatment (or a combination of treatment options). By realigning the jaw, the debilitating effects of TMD are often alleviated.

What to Do If you Experience TMD Symptoms

If you are experiencing symptoms of TMD, contact Southern Cal Smiles for help. At our state-of-the-art cosmetic dentistry practice in Calabasas and Woodland Hills, Dr. Fredericks and the team at Southern Cal Smiles helps TMD patients overcome the pain and inflammation associated with the disorder. She uses a variety of advanced techniques and technologies to treat TMJ and other neuromuscular and dental disorders.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Fredericks, please contact Southern Cal Smiles by calling (818) 346-3337 now.