TMJ Awareness Month: The Facts You Need to Know Today

TMJ awareness month

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is easily the most important joint in the body. The sliding hinge on either side of the skull allows for speech, eating, and any action that requires the opening and closing of the lower jaw. 

For some folks, one or both sides of the jaw can become inflamed. An often painful condition called TMJ disorder (TMD) can result. To raise awareness of this serious degenerative condition, November has been named TMJ Awareness Month. 

To help raise awareness of this important month, the oral and maxillofacial surgeons at Aspire Surgical offer this TMJ disorder overview. We’ll explore facts about TMJ so you can recognize TMJ symptoms. 

What Is TMJ Disorder?

What is TMJ? If you have ever slept incorrectly, you may have temporarily woken up with a sore jaw. If your jaw is healthy, the discomfort will only be momentary.

People with TMJ disorder live with continual discomfort and pain around their TMJ. To understand TMJ disorder requires an understanding of the joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull.

The TMJs, located at the base of the skull, act like sliding hinges that allow the lower jaw to open and close with ease. The network of muscles, connective tissue, and bones that support the jawbones is delicate. 

When the joints do not function properly (often due to poor alignment of the jawbones) a condition known as TMD can result. The good news is this jaw disorder can be effectively treated when you work with a qualified crew of oral maxillofacial surgeons. TMJ treatment does not always require surgery. 

The Causes of TMJ Disorders

TMD is more common than many people think. In fact, around 12% of adults in the United States deal with this condition. TMD is more common in women than men. 


There is no one cause of TMD. The condition could result from an injury to the head or face. Serious trauma may require immediate surgery.


Another common cause of TMJ disorder is poor tooth alignment (malocclusion) that doesn’t allow the jaws to properly align. This is one reason why orthodontic treatment is often used to treat mild cases of TMD.

Arthritis and Age

Arthritis is another possible cause of TMD. The TMJs are susceptible to wear and tear just like other joints.

Over time, the cartilage in the joints can wear thin and expose the underlying bone. Age is a risk factor for TMD, but the condition can arise early in adulthood. Some of our patients who are in their 20s and 30s experience TMD-related jaw pain. 


If you suffer from nighttime teeth grinding, otherwise known as bruxism, then you may be at high risk of developing TMJ disorder. The involuntary jawbone clenching stresses the TMJs. In other cases, TMD can actually be the cause of bruxism. 

TMJ Symptoms

The most common symptom of TMD is pain in or around the jaw. Symptoms are often more pronounced in the morning but not always. 

Pain and Discomfort

Due to the position of the jaws, discomfort or pain may radiate to the face or ears. Some people notice TMD discomfort when they are eating.

Impeded Jawbone Range of Motion

Even if TMD doesn’t cause significant pain, people with the condition may notice that their jaw doesn’t open easily. There may be a clicking or popping sensation when their jaw fully opens. The inability to fully open the jaw may lead to the sensation that the range of motion of the jaw is restricted. 

Will Symptoms Subside on Their Own?

The symptoms of TMD may subside on their own or they may require orthodontic treatment. For serious cases of TMD, one common treatment is surgery. If you are preparing for surgery at one of our offices, you can trust that your comfort will be our top priority.  

When to See a Doctor

If you are wondering when to see a doctor for TMJ, the best course of action is to be safe and schedule an exam. TMD can be more easily treated in the early stages of the disorder. 

TMJ Treatment Options

If you are seeking relief from TMD, the first step is to undergo a comprehensive examination at one of our offices. Depending on your symptoms and other factors, one of our doctors will customize a treatment plan. 

Relaxation Exercises

Mild symptoms can be treated using facial or jaw relaxation exercises. Some patients can benefit from lifestyle changes. If stress is the underlying cause of bruxism, meditation and exercise could address symptoms.

Treatment for Nighttime Teeth Grinding

Bruxism can also be effectively treated using a nightguard that is worn at night. The custom medical mouthguards help the jaw muscles relax at night. 

Dental Work or Orthodontics

Dental treatments are another treatment option. Poorly fitting prosthetics could cause jaw pain. Orthodontic treatments can effectively address TMD for many patients. 

Jaw Surgery

The last resort for treating TMD is jaw surgery. Maxillofacial surgery can bring drastic relief for people who suffer from TMD. Following surgery, patients will begin noticing that eating, speaking, and even sleeping become easier.

Celebrate TMJ Awareness Month the Right Way

TMJ Awareness Month may come once a year, but patients who suffer from TMD deal with the symptoms year-round. If you wake up with mild to moderate jaw pain, you may have the early stages of this degenerative condition. Unfortunately for most people, the symptoms will become progressively worse.

The oral and maxillofacial surgeons at Aspire Surgical offer a wide range of oral and maxillofacial treatments that directly address TMD. Beyond restoring your quality of life, we will work to deliver beautiful aesthetics to your face and smile.

Better Smiles Begin with Sleep Apnea Treatments

Sleep Apnea

One of the biggest oral health risks that individuals may suffer from and be completely unaware of is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a disorder in which individuals suffer from interrupted breathing patterns while they sleep. The two most common forms of sleep apnea are obstructive sleep apnea and central sleep apnea.

Obstructive sleep apnea arises when individuals have a blocked airway or are failing to receive enough air through their air passages. Central sleep apnea, however, is a result of brain signals not being adequately received. When your brain sends signals to your breathing muscles instructing them to breathe, there may be issues in which these signals are not reaching their target destination. This type of sleep apnea typically arises due to issues such as brain tumors, infections, stroke, or heart failure.

Treating sleep apnea is essential if you are at a higher risk for the symptom. Typically, men over the age of 40 are at the highest risk for sleep apnea. Furthermore, if you are overweight or have a genetic predisposition for any oral health conditions, you will also be likely to suffer from sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is commonly linked to a family history of the disorder, a nasal obstruction such as a deviated septum, allergies and sinus problems, large tonsils, a large tongue, or a small jaw in relation to your face.

For help treating sleep apnea, Drs. Richard Shamo and AJ Stosich at [practice_name] are here to assist you in every way we can. If you would like to set up an appointment to visit our oral and maxillofacial surgeons in [city], [state], please call us at [phone] to speak with our team.


Bone Grafting Treatments to End Your Year with a Smile

As the holiday feasts and festivities begin to show themselves this season, it is important to make sure your oral health is in great care, and you have a complete smile to enjoy all of the delectable delights that the snow-filled season has to offer. If you have any lost or missing teeth, it is important to make sure they are replaced with effective prosthetics that are durable and strong. If you are in need of a dental implant, but your jaw is not strong enough to hold them, and oral surgery using a bone graft will be necessary.

Bone grafting is extremely popular for dental implants because it allows your jaw to be strengthened to the point it can adequately hold a dental implant in place. According to the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons, if your jawbone is too soft, too fragile, or too thin, a bone graft is recommended prior to dental implant placements.

A bone graft works by taking part of a bone from one section of your body and grafting it onto your jawbone. Artificial prosthetic bone grafting materials can also be used. Not only will bone grafts strengthen your jaw bone, but they will also improve your oral health. Although a bone graft often takes several months before it can strengthen to the point your jaw is strong enough to hold an implant, it is well worth it to give you the satisfaction and joy you require heading into next year.

If you are in need of a bone grafting treatment or would like to come in for an examination to determine your candidacy for the service. Contact Aspire Surgical at our office in Salt Lake. With the help of our docotors and our team, a bone grafting treatment can be used to help progress your mouth towards a full smile. Have a ‘spooktacular’ Halloween and a happy holiday season!

If You’re Getting a Tooth Pulled, Watch Out for These Complications After Treatment

Post op jaw pain

Tooth extraction is an invasive treatment that can help you restore your oral health and smile. This is a beneficial treatment, but, like other treatments, there is a chance you could experience complications after the extraction. Some of those problems include:

-Dry socket: Dry socket occurs when a blood clot fails to form or when an already-formed blood clot breaks off too soon. This can happen when you drink through a straw. This problem can be very painful and should be treated with a medicated bandage as soon as possible. So, please contact our office if you experience this issue.

-Numb lips and chin: It’s typical to feel numb after oral surgery, especially because of the numbing agents used during the treatment. However, if the numbing lasts more than one or two days, a nerve might have been affected during the treatment. So, it’s best to contact our office and schedule an appointment.

-Infection: Infection is always a possibility after tooth extraction, as it is with any surgery. So, make sure to care for the surgical site as much as possible to prevent infection. If you see oozing at the surgical site, please contact our office and schedule an appointment.

It’s very important to follow post-op instructions on how to properly recover after tooth extraction. That way you can fully return to a top-notch oral health and smile. Do you have any questions? If so, please contact our team at Aspire Surgical when you have the chance. Our professional team will be happy to help you if you just call us!

The Known Dangers of Gingivitis


Have you ever heard of periodontal disease? Have you ever heard of gum disease? Have you ever heard of gingivitis? Strikingly enough, they all refer to the same oral health care condition. Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. Fortunately, if you are only suffering from gingivitis, there’s still plenty of time to treat the disease and restore your oral health.

Spotting gingivitis can often be difficult, due to the length of time that the disease can occur. Gum disease can progress for many years, and the symptoms may be minor. However, if you’re showing any signs of additional redness or swelling in your gums, gingivitis may be present. Furthermore, if your gums bleed easily when eating, brushing your teeth, or flossing, you may be suffering from early stages of gum disease. Gingivitis may also be present if you consistently suffer from bad breath.

Various risk factors increase the likelihood you will develop gum disease and gingivitis. This includes unhealthy habits such as smoking or chewing tobacco or using drugs. Some gingivitis risk factors may be out of your control, including pregnancy, genetics, and diabetes. Even some medications you may be taking can increase your risk for gingivitis. If left untreated, oral surgery can be given via a gingival graft, also known as a gum graft, to help restore your gums.

If you are looking for gum graft treatments in Salt Lake City, come see Aspire Surgical soon. To schedule an appointment, simply call our office. With the help of  our team, the pathway to a clear smile can be yours. We look forward to making your smile shine soon!

Enhance Your Smile with TMJ Treatments

TMJ Pain

When thinking about how important your jaw is to your oral health, it’s best to understand the factors behind it. Within each jaw lies a joint known a temporomandibular joint, also called a TMJ. TMJs are responsible for the array of movement that our mouth requires for opening our mouths and chewing. Thus, they can be damaged at times due to excess wear and tear, which will need treatment as soon as possible.

Enhance your smile with TMJ treatments. To learn more about TMJs, please read the following:

– If your mouth takes frequent damage, TMJ disorders can arise. It is important to stop all bad habits that could make it worse, including chewing gum, eating hard foods, or even biting your nails.
– As is the case with many TMJ disorders, common side effects include pain, discomfort, or swelling. Different types of treatments to use include ice packs for pain and heat packs for swelling.
– If your TMJ is causing you jaw pain, there may be an underlying illness within your mouth or body contributing to it.
– In order to better help you cope with the stress and anxiety that is often connected to TMJ disorders, try practicing yoga or biofeedback.

Come in and see for yourself the effectiveness of TMJ treatments provided by our oral surgeons. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Maak, Dr. Shamo, Dr. Stosich, and our team, call Aspire Surgical and a member of our team will gladly assist you. The time is now to approach the rest of your life with a smile!

Welcome to Our New Blog!

Aspire Surgical Doctors

Here at [practice_name], we endeavor to use our new blog as a regular means for publishing valuable content for our community through monthly blog posts. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, we’re able to further explore some of the most important topics pertaining to our industry and area of expertise here on our website through these articles.

Each profession tends to be its own little niche, which is a good thing because it creates a unique space for our services and a place for you to learn and implement helpful ideas that can benefit you and the people you care about.

We’re excited to share this ongoing knowledge base of blog articles with this online community. These blogs provide timely and relevant information that’s conveniently accessible online. Indeed, we hope that this community will use the valuable information found in our regular blog posts, because they are an effective way for us to reach out to you on a monthly basis, while you still enjoy the comforts of your own home.

If you have any questions or want more information, we invite you to call our team at Aspire Surgical. We look forward to helping you in any way we can, and we thank you for the opportunity!


To all our patients and referring dental offices, please note we are taking all the important steps to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID -19)

In an effort to promote public safety we are implementing the following temporary measures:

  1. Please do not enter our offices if you have experienced ANY of the following in the last 14 days:
    • Fever
    • Cough
    • Shortness of breath / difficulty breathing
    • Traveled to the following countries in the: China, Iran, Europe, including United Kingdom and Ireland, or South Korea
    • Have been in contact with anyone with active symptoms or anyone who has traveled to the regions listed above. 2.Patients undergoing surgery are asked to be accompanied by ONE adult only.
  2. In an effort to minimize contact between patients and their escorts, we are asking to have them wait in their cars and let us know when you have arrived by calling the office. We will then call you when we have the room ready so you can go straight back.

Our commitment to the safety and health of our patients is our top priority. 

We appreciate your understanding as we try our best to limit the spread of this disease.

Aspire Surgical