Cook Orthodontics

22032 El Paseo
Suite 210
Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688
Phone: 949-589-7820
Fax: 949-589-2301



Here at Dr. Cook’s Rancho Santa Margarita orthodontic office, not only do we provide braces and Inivsalign, we also often see patients who are experiencing pain and stiffness in their jaw, or what they usually describe as TMJ. “TMJ” stands for Temporomandibular Joint and Temporomandibular Dysfunction (TMD) is a multifactorial disorder, meaning that there are many causes for the problem.

TMD is a term that refers to problems with the muscles that work the jaw or problems inside the joint capsule itself. One or both of those problems can exist and it will still be called TMD. Because it is a multifactorial problem, it is not likely that doing one thing will make all of the symptoms go away. Some of the symptoms can include:

  • Pain or tightness in the sides of the face
  • Pain in front of the ear or sides of the head
  • Headaches
  • Joint sounds like popping or crunching
  • Episodes of jaw locking, closed or open

Dr. Cook offers a TMJ exam that evaluates the joint tissue in the “hinge” of the jaw. Possible problems include swelling, deterioration of the joint tissue or damaged joint tissue (which cushions the jaw bones during the opening and closing movement of the mouth). Common pain relievers and cold compresses can provide temporary relief for most cases of TMD.

For more serious cases of TMD, we will recommend alternate treatments. Often, we will suggest using a mouth guard to relieve teeth grinding. In some cases, we will instruct you to use orthodontic appliances or retainers to alleviate discomfort or redirect positioning of the Temperomandibular Joint. For the most severe cases of TMJ, we may recommend certain invasive procedures like orthognathic surgery.

If you believe you are suffering from TMD and would like some relief, contact Cook Orthodontics in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA today. We proudly serve patients and families throughout RSM, Mission Viejo, Ladera Ranch and greater Orange County, CA with comprehensive orthodontic care, including jaw pain treatment. We look forward to serving you!