TMJ Therapy In Chevy Chase, MD

28 Services ( View All )

Effective Therapy for TMJ Disorders

If you’re experiencing symptoms such as constant headaches, jaw clicking, and limited jaw movement, you might be suffering from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. At Smiles of Chevy Chase, our Chevy Chase, MD, dentist, Dr. Markogiannakis, offers TMJ therapy so you can alleviate pain and discomfort. Our team of dental professionals can assess your symptoms and create a personalized treatment plan to help meet your needs.

Don't let TMJ pain hold you back any longer! Call (301) 652-0656 to schedule an appointment at our Chevy Chase dental office today and take the first step towards a pain-free life.

What is Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Therapy?

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) therapy

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) therapy consists of non-invasive or invasive treatments used to relieve symptoms and improve function for individuals with temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJD). The temporomandibular joint connects your jawbone to your skull. TMJD can cause pain, stiffness, and impaired jaw movement, affecting your speech, chewing, and other basic activities.

TMJ therapy aims to address the symptoms and underlying causes of temporomandibular disorders, offering relief and improved jaw function.

TMJ therapy is individualized, and the appropriate treatment approach depends on the severity of symptoms, underlying causes, and patient preferences. Collaboration with our Chevy Chase dentist is key to developing a comprehensive treatment plan.

TMJ Treatment Options

Non-Invasive Treatments

  • Lifestyle Modifications: Dr. Markogiannakis might recommend eating soft foods such as yogurt, mashed potatoes, cottage cheese, soup, scrambled eggs, fish, cooked fruits and vegetables, beans, and grains to help relieve TMD symptoms. It's also advised to cut foods into small pieces to chew less and avoid hard, crunchy, chewy, and thick foods that require wide mouth movements, reducing stress, and improving your posture.
  • Physical Therapy: Techniques to stretch and strengthen jaw muscles, improve joint mobility, and correct posture.
  • Splint Therapy: Custom-fitted mouthguards or splints that help to reduce clenching or grinding (bruxism) and stabilize the jaw.
  • Medications: Pain relievers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs to manage symptoms.
Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) therapy

Invasive Treatments

  • Injections: Corticosteroids or botulinum toxin (Botox) injections to reduce inflammation and muscle tension.
  • Arthrocentesis: A procedure used to wash out the joint and remove debris or excess fluid.
  • Surgery: In severe cases, surgical procedures like arthroscopy or open-joint surgery may be considered to correct structural issues or repair damage.

Why Is TMJ Therapy Necessary?

TMJ therapy is necessary primarily to alleviate symptoms, restore function, and improve your quality of life. TMJ therapy might be necessary for many reasons, including:

  • Pain relief
  • Improved jaw junction
  • Prevention of further jaw damage
  • Reduced tension and stress
  • Enhanced quality of life
  • Reduced risk of chronic conditions
  • Unsuccessful non-invasive treatment 

What To Expect

The TMJ therapy process involves diagnosing, evaluating, and treating TMJ disorders. Each treatment varies depending on the severity of your symptoms, underlying causes, and the types of therapy or interventions required.

Assessment and Diagnosis

Our Chevy Chase dentist will begin by collecting detailed information about your medical history, symptoms, lifestyle, and contributing factors like bruxism (teeth grinding) or jaw injuries.

During the examination, our dentist assesses for common TMD symptoms, including checking for physical signs of TMD through a thorough examination of your jaw, face, neck, and mouth. They'll evaluate jaw movement, range of motion, muscle tenderness, and listen for any clicking or popping sounds coming from your TMJ. Diagnostic imaging (such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRIs) may also be used to assess the structure of the TMJ and identify any damage, misalignment, or other abnormalities.

Personalized Treatment Plan

Our Chevy Chase dentist will develop a tailored TMJ therapy treatment plan based on the assessment and diagnosis. The initial focus is usually on non-invasive therapies, which may include physical therapy, splint therapy, pain management, stress reduction, or behavioral therapy. Depending on your needs, invasive therapy may later be added to your treatment plan.

Implementing TMJ Therapy

Physical therapy for TMJ may include exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles, improve range of motion, and relieve muscle tension. Posture correction and relaxation techniques may also be part of the therapy.

Custom-made splints or mouthguards can also reduce bruxism and help align your jaw properly. Techniques to manage stress, reduce clenching, or improve sleep may be recommended as well as dietary modifications.

Advanced treatments such as corticosteroid or BOTOX toxin injections may be considered if non-invasive treatments are ineffective. For severe cases where non-invasive treatments have not provided relief, your dentist may recommend surgical interventions such as arthroscopy, arthrocentesis, or open-joint surgery.

Monitoring and Adjustments

Regular follow-up appointments at our Chevy Chase, MD, dental office are essential to assess your progress, adjust the treatment plan as needed, and address any new or ongoing symptoms.

Our team will evaluate the effectiveness of the therapy and make recommendations for further treatment if necessary. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to our Chevy Chase team at (301) 652-0656, and we’ll be happy to help!

TMJ Therapy Benefits: How It Can Relieve TMJ Pain

TMJ therapy provides a variety of benefits if you’re suffering from TMJD. These benefits span from pain relief and improved jaw function to enhanced quality of life and reduced risk of complications. Here's a detailed look at the benefits of TMJ therapy:

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) therapy
  • Reduced Pain and Inflammation: One of the primary benefits of TMJ therapy is pain relief and inflammation within the temporomandibular joint, which is a common cause of pain and discomfort. This pain can manifest in your jaw, face, neck, head, and ears, often leading to chronic discomfort. 
  • Improved Jaw Function: TMJ therapy, particularly physical therapy and jaw exercises, can help improve jaw movement, which causes issues with chewing, speaking, and yawning
  • Decreased Bruxism and Jaw Clenching: Bruxism (teeth grinding) and jaw clenching are frequent contributors to TMJ disorders. TMJ therapy like splint therapy and stress management can help reduce these behaviors, thereby alleviating stress on the joint and associated muscles.
  • Prevention of Further Damage: TMJ therapy can help prevent further damage to the joint and surrounding structures by addressing underlying issues and reducing strain on the joint. This can lower the risk of complications such as joint degeneration, arthritis, or chronic pain conditions.
  • Long-Term Solutions: While some people require ongoing management of TMJ disorders, others can achieve long-term relief through targeted therapy and lifestyle changes. TMJ therapy aims to provide lasting solutions by addressing the root causes and promoting healthier behaviors.
  • Enhanced Quality of Life: TMJ disorders can significantly impact your quality of life, affecting your eating, sleeping, speaking, and social interactions. By addressing the underlying issues and alleviating symptoms, TMJ therapy can lead to a noticeable improvement in your quality of life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can I do at home to manage TMJ symptoms?

Home-based strategies to manage TMJ symptoms include practicing jaw exercises, using heat or cold packs, avoiding hard or chewy foods, reducing stress, maintaining good posture, and using a mouthguard at night if you grind your teeth. Specifically, a mouthguard, which is a plastic mouthpiece that fits over the upper and lower teeth to prevent them from touching, can be particularly effective. This device not only protects the teeth but also lessens the effects of clenching or grinding and can help correct the bite by positioning the teeth more favorably.

Can TMJ therapy completely cure TMJ disorders?

Complete "cures" depend on the underlying cause and severity of the condition, but TMJ therapy can significantly reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. Some individuals may require ongoing management, while others can achieve long-term relief through therapy and lifestyle changes.

How long does it take to see results from TMJ therapy?

Some people may experience relief within a few weeks while others might require several months of treatment and adjustments to their therapy plan. Consistency and following the recommended treatment plan are key.

Can stress cause or worsen TMJ disorders?

Yes, stress can contribute to TMJ disorders by increasing muscle tension, leading to jaw clenching or teeth grinding. Managing stress through relaxation techniques, mindfulness, or behavioral therapy can help reduce TMJ symptoms.

Schedule Your Consultation at Lasting Smiles of Chevy Chase

Don’t let the pain and discomfort of TJMD take hold of your life! Dr. Markogiannakis at Smiles of Chevy Chase will help tailor your TMJ therapy plan to help meet your needs and alleviate pain. If you're ready to start TMJ therapy, we’re here to create your personalized treatment plan.

Contact our Chevy Chase, MD, dental office at (301) 652-0656 to schedule your appointment today!

Related Procedures

*Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary from person to person. Images may contain models.