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Rye Smiles for Life
10614 Warwick Avenue, Ste A, Fairfax, VA 22030

Do you have chronic facial, jaw, or neck pain, headaches or ringing in the ears? A TMJ disorder could be to blame for this discomfort. Only a dentist with the right training can diagnose this kind of problem. Visit our dental office in Fairfax to learn how our state-of-the-art treatments can relieve your pain.

What Is a TMJ Disorder?

Your lower jaw is attached to the skull at the temporomandibular joint on both sides of your head in front of your ears. The joint works like a sliding hinge to allow your jaw to open and close so that you can eat and speak. Cartilage covers the bones, and a small disk separates them to provide smooth movement.

TMJ disorder (TMD) refers to various disorders that cause pain in this joint and the muscles that control your jaw movements. Millions of people suffer from such conditions, which are more common in women than men.

What Causes TMJ Conditions?

It’s usually hard to determine the exact cause of temporomandibular joint problems. They can develop from a combination of factors, including arthritis, genetics, injuries, and birth defects. People who grind or clench their teeth have a higher risk for developing TMD, but not everyone does. In general, TMJ pain occurs when the joint or cartilage is damaged or the disk moves out of alignment or erodes.

Signs and Symptoms of TMJ Syndrome

Several signs and symptoms may indicate that you have TMD. The most obvious and common sign is jaw pain or tenderness, especially at the joints. You could also have aches in and around one or both of your ears. If you are experiencing any combination of the symptoms below, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

  • Stiff jaw muscles
  • Trouble chewing
  • Swelling in the jaw
  • Locking of the joint
  • Limited jaw movement
  • Aching pain in the neck or face
  • Popping or clicking sound at the joint
  • Misaligned teeth due to jaw shift

How Are TMDs Treated?

Most of the time, you can treat TMDs with at-home remedies. For example, you can eat soft foods, reduce your jaw movements, and use jaw-stretching exercises. Applying ice to the area can reduce swelling, and reducing stress can prevent grinding or clenching. Moreover, avoid chewing tough foods such as beef jerky.

If your symptoms don’t improve, you might need professional treatment. Our dentists can recommend or prescribe medications to provide TMJ relief. For instance, ibuprofen and corticosteroids can relieve swelling and pain, and Valium can relax the jaw muscles. We might even suggest getting a bite guard or stabilization splint to prevent grinding.

In rare cases, TMJ surgery or other procedures are necessary. Our dentists might recommend corrective bite treatment that also aligns your teeth. If there’s fluid and debris in your joint, we may suggest an arthrocentesis to remove it. In addition, jaw joint replacement is a last-resort possibility to achieve a TMJ cure in the most severe cases.

Who Can Diagnose a TMD?

You should see a TMJ specialist to get a proper diagnosis because standardized tests to identify TMDs are not available. Our dentists can examine your jaw to detect painful areas, tenderness, swelling, and poor range of motion, which will help the dentist to determine the source of the problem. We may even use X-rays or other imaging tests to more clearly see the structure of your jaw. Schedule an appointment today for TMJ therapy in Fairfax.

What do our patients say about TMJ Treatment?

Ally’s Story with TMJ Treatment

Bryan’s Story with TMJ Treatment

Joan’s Story with TMJ Treatment

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    8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
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Rye Smiles for Life

10614 Warwick Avenue, Ste A, Fairfax, VA 22030

(703) 565-2503