Home » TMJ Treatment

Resolve TMJ pain, symptoms for good with a range of therapies

It’s true that, at Abel, Phan & Associates in Sterling, Virginia, your smile is our passion. Yet, Drs Anna Abel and Chuong Phan appreciate that a healthy, attractive smile is more than treating teeth and gums. And we understand patients are more than their teeth and gums. Many factors influence the appearance and health of your smile, including the oral structures and tissues surrounding the teeth and gums. These structures are designed to work in concert. When something goes awry with this intricate system, numerous life-altering symptoms (with implications for oral health and overall wellbeing) can arise.

TMJ/TMD troubles

The temporomandibular joints (TMJs) exist on either side of your face. They connect the jaw to the skull. TMJs behave like “hinges.” They facilitate smooth movements, which support comfortable and efficient chewing and other essential functions. You probably don’t think much about these joints until problems develop. When the TMJs don’t function properly, this condition is known as TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction or TMJ Disorder). TMDs are often characterized by:

  • Facial pain
  • Jaw pain
  • Radiating neck, back, and shoulder pain
  • Limited mobility; jaw stiffness and locking
  • Tinnitus or ringing of the ears
  • Earaches
  • Headaches
  • Clicking or popping sounds when opening and closing the mouth (“noisy jaw”)

The severity and frequency of symptoms vary significantly among patients. The nature and severity of symptoms can also change over time.

Symptom-relief and treatment

There are myriad potential causes of TMD and, thus, numerous possible treatment options. The first step is naturally to get to the bottom of what is causing your TMJ pain and other symptoms that may be present. We may determine that chronic bruxism or teeth-grinding is at fault. Likewise, this delicate interplay of oral tissues and structures can be thrown off balance due to untreated teeth or jaw misalignment. Even worn restorations or old dental appliances can contribute to bite imbalances and TMD development.

Depending on what we find, patients can get lasting relief from TMDs with a single type of treatment or multi-faceted treatment. These options include oral appliance therapy to protect the teeth from bruxism or repositioning the jaws. So, the back teeth don’t make contact when biting down to grind your teeth during sleep. Replacing or reshaping dental restorations such as crowns can be transformative, as can orthodontic treatment with braces or alternatives like Invisalign®.

We encourage you to schedule a TMJ evaluation at our Sterling/Potomac Falls office. Call Abel, Phan & Associates at (571) 450-9848.