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TMJ Treatment Washington, DC

A TMJ disorder is a chronic pain condition associated with dysfunction of the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). Symptoms such as chronic headaches, teeth grinding, and facial and jaw pain are all common indications of a TMJ disorder. Doctors often misdiagnose TMJ disorders. Because of this, patients need to visit a dentist with experience treating TMD for the appropriate testing.

If left untreated, TMJ disorder can affect the quality of life and the condition of your smile. Washington, DC, dentist Dr. Justin Deckard offers a full range of restorative dental treatments for patients suffering from TMJ disorder.

TMJ Treatment in Washington DC

What Causes TMJ Disorders?

The temporomandibular joints are joints on either side of the face. They act like a sliding hinge to help open and close the mouth. While damage to this joint can lead to TMD, a TMJ disorder may not have one singular cause. A variety of factors can lead to stress or dysfunction in the temporomandibular joint.

Most patients who develop TMJ disorder experience some form of malocclusion, misaligned or crooked teeth, or orthodontic concerns. Constant stress and trauma can compromise the jaw joint. Over time, eating, chewing, and speaking without pain or discomfort becomes increasingly tricky.

Common Signs & Symptoms of TMJ Disorders:

  • Earaches or ringing in the ears
  • Neck, face, and jaw pain or tension
  • Persistent┬áheadaches
  • Popping or clicking of the jaw
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding)
  • Numbness in the face or hands
  • Chipped or damaged teeth

Contact a dentist when you notice a change in the comfort of your teeth or jaw. Early signs of TMD can worsen over time. Addressing the source of your TMJ disorder and treating TMD symptoms can reduce daily pain and discomfort. Treating TMJ disorders can also prevent permanent wear to your teeth, jaw, joints, and muscles.

Evaluating Treatment Options For TMJ Disorders

Dr. Deckard understands no two smiles are alike. He works with patients one-on-one to understand their needs fully. Dr. Deckard will build a custom treatment plan that will meet their needs. A treatment plan for TMJ disorder will address the cause of TMD and prevent further damage to the teeth, joints, and muscles. Treatment will vary from patient to patient.

TMJ Treatment in Washington, DC

Dr. Deckard may suggest one or more treatments for TMD:

  • Oral sleep appliance: An oral sleep appliance is a custom-designed device that helps to realign the jaw during sleep. An oral sleep appliance will prevent the teeth from grinding and clenching. The appliance can minimize damage to joints, muscles, and teeth.
  • Invisalign: Orthodontic treatment can address misaligned teeth, a common contributing factor to TMD. Invisalign is one of the most comfortable and practical options for patients with mild orthodontic problems. Invisalign is a set of clear, removable aligners that gradually reposition the teeth. Your dentist may use Invisalign to treat crooked teeth and alleviate TMJ disorder symptoms.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Dr. Deckard will discuss specific changes that may reduce stress and prevent jaw grinding and clenching. Addressing stress and anxiety can lessen the severity of symptoms. Releasing tension in the upper body muscles and improving your posture can also reduce pain in the face and jaw.

TMJ Treatment FAQs

Learn more about TMJ disorders with answers to these popular patient questions:

Is TMJ treatment expensive?

No. TMJ treatment is inexpensive and often includes common restorative and preventative treatments. Depending on the severity of your specific issue, a common TMJ treatment plan consists of a combination of self-care, exercises, and relaxing techniques.

Will my TMJ disorder go away on its own?

It’s unlikely for TMD to go away without treatment. However, you can alleviate your symptoms with a few at-home lifestyle changes. High-stress levels are one of the common reasons for a developing TMJ disorder. Managing your stress can help alleviate symptoms. Visiting a dentist will also help treat the causes of TMD.

Will TMJ treatment drastically change my smile?

Yes and no. It will have an impact on your smile, but not in a negative way. Some parts of TMJ treatment can include orthodontics and bite alignment correction. They can improve many of your dental issues, not just TMJ.

What happens if I do not treat my TMJ disorder?

If a patient does not seek treatment for TMD, the symptoms may persist and worsen over time. TMJ disorder can lead to chronic pain in the jaw, face, and neck. It may also result in difficulty chewing, speaking, or opening and closing the mouth.

In some cases, persistent TMJ can cause damage to the jaw joint, teeth, and surrounding muscles. Furthermore, it can cause tinnitus or (ringing in the ears) dizziness in more severe cases. Consult a dentist for an evaluation and treatment to prevent complications.

What do dentists and medical professionals consider severe TMJ?

Dentists and medical specialists deem TMJ severe when it interferes with a patient’s routine and dental wellness. A jaw, cheek, neck, or shoulder ache of extreme intensity and persistence may be a symptom of severe TMD.

TMJ pain inhibits jaw movement and makes it challenging to chew and speak. A locked jaw, tinnitus, or chronic headaches occasionally accompany severe TMJ. It’s crucial to seek examination and treatment from a dental expert or healthcare practitioner if you may have TMJ.

Is TMJ a medical or dental problem?

Medical professionals consider TMJ both a medical and dental problem. Temporomandibular joint disorders involve the jaw joint and surrounding muscles, impacting oral function, such as chewing and speaking. General dentists and oral and maxillofacial specialists often diagnose and treat TMJ issues.

On the other hand, medical professionals, like primary care doctors or physical therapists, can help manage the condition. Ultimately, collaborative care between dental and medical professionals ensures the best approach.

Schedule A TMD Consultation

If you experience any symptoms related to a TMJ disorder, be sure to contact our office. We offer TMJ treatment in our Washington, DC, dental office.

Dr. Deckard can work with you to develop a solution to help treat your symptoms and restore function to your smile. To schedule an appointment, call (202) 851-7554 or request a dental appointment online.