TMJ Disorder Treatment
TMJ disorder, also called TMD or craniomandibular disorder, is the commonly used term to describe a set of symptoms related to an imbalance, or dysfunction, in the temporomandibular joint. Tension in the jaw joint, or TMJ, often leads to frequent headaches, jaw pain, ear and neck pain, and difficulty chewing properly. These symptoms can disrupt daily life for many patients and are a sign that something is not functioning correctly. Dr. Mojgan Mazhari has dedicated many hours to postgraduate training in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ disorders and complex bite problems. She has incorporated advanced technology into her practice in order to provide a comprehensive analysis of the function of your jaw joint for accurate treatment.
- What is TMJ Disorder?
- TMJ Disorder Symptoms
- TMJ Disorder Causes
- TMJ Disorder Diagnosis
- TMJ Disorder Treatment
- Will TMJ Disorder Require Surgery?
What Is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorder is an umbrella term that encompasses a range of problems that can afflict the temporomandibular joint(s). The temporomandibular joints are located on either side of the cranium, and they connect the jawbone to the skull, allowing for proper jaw movement. A range of issues—from trauma to overwork—can impact the temporomandibular joint(s) and cause pain or difficulty when moving the jaw. Severe TMD can also cause other symptoms throughout the head and body, including headaches and neck pain.
What Are the Common Symptoms of TMJ Disorder?
There are several typical symptoms of a bite disorder, and while some patients may experience a combination of symptoms, others may notice none at all. Dr. Mazhari will look for the signs of a problem during routine dental care, which can include worn or damaged teeth. Some of the most common TMD symptoms include:
- Teeth grinding or clenching, often characterized by tooth wear
- Frequent headaches or migraines
- Earaches and a general feeling of fullness in the ears
- Neck and/or shoulder pain
- Limited mobility in the jaw
- Clicking or popping when opening or closing the jaw
What Are the Potential Causes of TMJ Disorder?
TMD is a multifactorial disorder, meaning that it can be difficult to pinpoint a single cause of TMJ-related jaw pain. However, some of the most common causes include:
- Chronic bruxism, or teeth grinding
- Frequent clenching of the jaw
- Strain caused by a misaligned bite
- Degenerative disorders, such as arthritis
- Joint damage, oftentimes caused by injury
To help determine the most likely causes of your jaw pain, we sometimes advise that an MRI of the soft tissue be performed. This can help determine if you are truly experiencing TMD, or if your jaw pain is being caused by another factor, such as ear diseases or anatomical abnormalities.
How Is TMJ Disorder Diagnosed?
Dr. Mazhari will use the k-7 evaluation system to provide an in-depth evaluation of the function of your jaw joint. This advanced technology uses electromyography and doppler sonography to analyze the movement, tension, and sounds when the jaw is in motion—important aspects of making a clinical diagnosis of TMJ dysfunction. This comprehensive analysis enables Dr. Mazhari to determine the best treatment option for restoring a comfortable, healthy bite.
A thorough TMJ/TMD consultation typically takes about 40 minutes and costs $250. Dr. Mazhari will give you a detailed questionnaire to get a better understanding of how your teeth, bite alignment, jaw position, and TMJ structures may influence your TMJ/TMD pain. She will also discuss any medications you are currently on and review any medical conditions—such as arthritis—that can influence TMJ disorders. From there, Dr. Mazhari can develop a better understanding of what is likely causing your pain and how various treatments may impact your condition.
Once she has conducted this assessment, Dr. Mazhari can outline the probable cost and duration of treatment for you. In some cases, she may refer you to another provider, especially in situations where your pain is determined to be chronic or highly complex. She can also help you find other pain management solutions that can temporarily relieve some of your discomfort prior to the start of treatment.
After Dr. Mazhari has had the chance to evaluate your jaw health and function during a consultation, she can begin working with you on a custom treatment plan. This may involve a number of different interventions. The first phase of treatment usually involves an oral appliance—such as a splint or mouth guard—that can help determine whether improving your jaw position can sufficiently address your TMJ/TMD pain. If it is determined that bite or jaw realignment can help, the second phase of treatment can begin. This phase may involve braces, onlays, and/or a full mouth rehabilitation plan to restore dentition and proper bite function.
A TMJ disorder can do more than cause uncomfortable symptoms, it can also lead to complex dental problems such as damaged teeth and periodontal disease. If you are struggling with TMJ/TMD-related pain, we encourage you to contact us. Dr. Mazhari can work with you to restore your daily quality of life with effective treatment that addresses both symptoms and the root cause of the problem.
What Can I Expect From the TMJ Disorder Treatment Process?
Dr. Mazhari offers comprehensive, individualized treatment for TMD that is based on your specific bite dysfunction and any additional dental problems.
Treatment may include one or more of the following:
- Mouth Guard and Splint Therapy: Dr. Mazhari may recommend the use of a custom mouth guard or dental splint to alleviate specific symptoms of TMJ disorder. A mouth guard or splint is often the first step in the treatment process, which can help reposition the jaw into a natural position and prevent teeth grinding.
- Bite Correction Therapy: This process is a series of adjustments made to the teeth to enable a natural, healthy bite and proper contact. Options may include:
- Orthodontics: If the bite is misaligned, orthodontics may be needed to reposition the teeth, allowing them to fit together harmoniously. Dr. Mazhari is a Northern Virginia Invisalign® provider and may recommend this orthodontic treatment option when appropriate for restoring balance to the bite.
- Restorative Dentistry: In cases of significant tooth wear or damage, restorative dentistry may be needed to bring the teeth back to their proper health and beauty. We may recommend dental crowns, partial crowns, porcelain veneers, or cosmetic bonding to restore your teeth and allow proper tooth contact.
Will I Need to Have Surgery to Correct My TMJ Disorder?
Surgery is generally a last-resort when it comes to treating TMJ disorder. Once you have been diagnosed, Dr. Mazhari will work closely with you throughout the TMD treatment process in order to decide on the optimal therapeutic options for you.
Schedule An Appointment
We welcome new patients in our Alexandria dentist office and serve patients in many Northern Virginia communities, including Arlington, Fairfax, Annandale and Reston. A personalized TMJ/TMD consultation and evaluation with Dr. Mazhari typically takes roughly 40 mins and costs $250. Once a consultation is completed, Dr. Mazhari can work with you to develop a treatment plan to address your TMJ/TMD. To schedule an appointment to discuss your dental concerns with Dr. Mazhari, contact us at (703) 212-9622 or request one online.