TMJ

TMJ disorders can cause discomfort throughout a person’s jaw area. At Broadlands Orthodontics & American Braces and Smile Center, Dr. Hessamfar is specially trained to provide patients with TMJ diagnosis and treatment. Patients throughout the Washington DC Metropolitan area can visit his three locations, Ashburn, Woodbridge and Arlington, for their TMJ treatment.
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TMJ Treatment Q & A

by R. (Ron) Hessamfar, DMD, MS

What are TMJ disorders?

TMJ disorders affect the temporomandibular joint which acts as a hinge that connects the jawbone to to the skull. This joint is the site of the discomfort felt with TMJ disorders as well as the muscles which control the joint. The cause of a person’s TMJ pain is usually hard to determine because a variety of issues including arthritis, a jaw injury, or teeth clenching and grinding can all contribute to it. Traditionally, the disorders are treated with pain medications and at-home care. However, surgery may be necessary to treat more severe cases.

What Symptoms Are Associated with TMJ Issues?

Typically, symptoms and signs of an issue with the temporomandibular joint include:

  • Pain when chewing or difficulty chewing
  • Aching pain in the face and head
  • Pain in or around the ear
  • Tenderness or pain in jaw area
  • Locking of the hinge/hinges which causes difficultly when opening and closing mouth

A clicking noise or grating feeling when opening and closing the mouth is also a symptom of a TMJ issue. Medical attention is commonly required when the pain does not go away. A person should consult a doctor right away if it becomes very difficult to move the joint, affecting the person’s ability to open and close his or her mouth.

What Treatments Are Used for a TMJ Disorder?

TMJ disorders can be treated with a wide variety of methods. In cases where the discomfort is continuing, physical therapy and pain relieving medicine are usually needed. Traditionally, pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and sedatives are employed to assist a patient with pain management. Orthotic appliance and night guards in addition to at-home care techniques can also help with preventing any damages caused by grinding or clenching which occurs while during sleep. In the most severe of cases, surgery is used as well as pain medication injections which are delivered straight into the joint itself. Typically, surgery is provided for people whose jaw is structurally problematic.