Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) impacts your jaw function and is due to damage to the joint itself or tension in nearby muscles. At Smyl Manatee in Bradenton, Florida, dentists Nish Patel, DDS, and Chuck Laun, DDS, treat TMJ using primarily nonsurgical methods and can also treat complications from TMJ like malocclusion. Don’t hesitate to book your appointment for jaw pain, locking, or stiffness by calling the office or using the online scheduling feature today.

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What is TMJ?

TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder, causes discomfort in the jaw. Your symptoms might be as mild as a few clicking or popping sounds when you open and close your mouth, or the pain could be so severe that you refrain from talking and yawning. In any case, Dr. Patel can treat TMJ symptoms that don’t go away with gentle home care.Many structural issues can affect your temporomandibular joints — the hinge joints allow you to open and close your mouth. You have one on each side of your jaw, and the dysfunction can occur on one or both sides. Some of the most prevalent causes of TMJ are arthritis, disc erosion, and jaw injuries.

What are the symptoms and complications of TMJ?

TMJ can appear with symptoms ranging in severity and can lead to orthodontic complications if it goes untreated in some of the most severe cases. Some signs and symptoms common with TMJ are:
⦿ Recurrent headaches
⦿ Earaches
⦿ Jaw stiffness
⦿ Joint cracking or popping with movement
⦿ Jaw muscle spasms
Some cases of TMJ lead to malocclusion, meaning your teeth no longer fit together properly because of misalignment. That can affect your jaw’s function and impact your chewing or speech. Dr. Patel considers your bite alignment while planning treatments for TMJ.

What are my options for TMJ treatment?

To plan an effective treatment for your TMJ, Dr. Patel determines the underlying cause or causes leading to your joint pain. If the problem is with an adjacent muscle, you can almost always treat it with noninvasive methods. When you find a way to relax those muscles, you find relief from the pain and tension in your jaw.
Dr. Patel offers both surgical and nonsurgical solutions for TMJ symptoms at Smyl Manatee. Your options include:


Mouthguards, or bite guards, are devices you keep in your mouth at night to stop you from grinding your teeth. Teeth grinding can wear down your temporomandibular joints and cause or contribute to TMJ symptoms.

Electrical nerve stimulation

Electrical nerve stimulation helps the muscles surrounding your jaw relax so they’re not so tense and painful. An electric current massages the muscles and eases the tension during the treatment. 

Trigger point injections

Trigger points are tense areas in your muscles. By injecting those exact spots with a numbing medicine or steroid, you can relieve the tension and ease TMJ symptoms. 


Most cases of TMJ will not need surgery, but it could be an option if nonsurgical methods don’t lead to lasting relief. He can treat TMJ with arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, or joint replacement surgery. Physical therapy, diet modifications, and anti-inflammatory medications can also help with TMJ symptoms and complications. If you have malocclusion, Dr. Patel might recommend treating it with braces or Invisalign®.
Schedule your appointment for TMJ treatment over the phone or online at Smyl Manatee today.



AMAZING PEOPLE! I've never had such a wonderful experience from the minute I walked into the dentistry office until the very end of the visit! Really amazing people, each and every one of them! So polite, so funny, so helpful, and so thoroughly involved and thoroughly knowledgable in the care and utmost health of your teeth. Sending them 5 STARS! Go see this amazing dentist and his team, you won't be disappointed!



I had Invisalign done with Dr. Patel, and it was a perfect experience from beginning to end. HE is a perfectionist and was attentive and professional from the initial consultation through to post-treatment. I've had orthodontic work done before and it can be a confusing and daunting process, but Dr. Patel provided confident and reassuring guidance the whole way.



I personally did not like going to a dentist until I met Dr. Nish. Smyl Manatee makes you feel welcome the second you walk in the door the entire staff is friendly. I will continue to tell everyone I know about the regular checkup & cleaning experience I had. Amazing doctor with an amazing team.



I was always scared of going to the dentist with the dental anxiety I had until I visited Smyl Manatee. The doctor told me about sedation dentistry and how the crown & bridge work. From the initial consultation to the final delivery, I was guided thoroughly, and the procedure went smoother than I thought. Highly recommended, if you are looking to improve your smile.



Dr. Patel and his team are amazing! They're professional, considerate, and make you feel at ease. I had an implant done a few years and now returning for two more. As much as I hate dental work, I'm at ease returning to Dr. Patel and his team. After my consultation, I left with a lot of information, answered questions, and excitement to fix my smile again. There's no one I trust more for my dental work!
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