TMJ Therapy in Bethesda & Chevy Chase, MD

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The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the spot where your jaw connects to your skull to allow you to open and close your jaw easily. Sometimes the joint is injured or damaged, leading to a painful condition called temporomandibular joint dysfunction or disorder (TMD). If you are experiencing pain or hearing noises when you move your jaw, schedule a consultation with experienced dentist Dr. Despina Markogiannakis to determine if you have TMD. At her dental practice, Smiles of Chevy Chase, Dr. Markogiannakis uses advanced equipment to diagnose and treat your TMD to relieve painful symptoms. Your treatment will be based on the cause of your TMD and your specific condition, but some options include oral appliances (mouth or night guards), bite adjustment, dental restorations, and more. Contact our Chevy Chase, MD dental facility if you think you may be experiencing symptoms of TMD.

Best Candidates

TMD may be caused by a single injury to the jaw, chronic teeth grinding (bruxism) and jaw clenching, or misalignment of the teeth (dental malocclusion). Medical conditions that can cause TMD include arthritis or a tumor in the temporomandibular joints. In some cases, the cause of TMD is unclear, but if you are experiencing symptoms, Dr. Markogiannakis can still diagnose and treat your jaw. Some of the most common symptoms of TMD are pain or tenderness in the temporomandibular joints, spasms in your facial muscles, feeling like your jaw is stiff or stuck, and headaches that start in front of your ears. Another symptom is hearing clicking, cracking, or popping whenever you move your jaw.

What To Expect

To help diagnose your TMD, Dr. Markogiannakis will carefully listen to and understand your concerns before performing a physical examination. During the exam, she will assess the movement of your jaw and look for signs of misalignment, teeth grinding, and jaw clenching. She will also feel the jaw and surrounding area for any tenderness and inflammation. Dr. Markogiannakis may want to have digital x-rays of your lower face or a bite analysis to look for underlying causes that may determine your treatment method. Based on the exam, she will go over your treatment options that may include a dental appliance, orthodontics, or dental restorations (crowns, bridges, and dentures).


Along with procedures to solve the underlying cause of your TMD, Dr. Markogiannakis can recommend other ways to relieve pain and other symptoms at home. This includes eating softer foods, avoiding chewing gum and biting your nails, heat packs on your jaw, and relaxation techniques. Dr. Markogiannakis can also give you exercises to strengthen your jaw or prescribe medicine to relax your jaw muscles (and to relieve pain, anxiety, or inflammation).

You should continue to attend your follow-up visits to our dental office so Dr. Markogiannakis can check the progress of your TMJ therapy. If your treatment is not helping, she may consider a different approach. Once your TMD is treated, you should continue to schedule annual dental exams at Smiles of Chevy Chase to keep your mouth healthy.

Insurance Coverage

Dental insurance coverage for TMJ pain diagnosis and TMD treatments will vary so we will contact your carrier to calculate your out-of-pocket costs. Whether you have dental insurance or not, Dr. Markogiannakis will go over cost estimates when reviewing treatment options. To help make all treatments affordable, Smiles of Chevy Chase accepts many payment methods, and we can help you find low-interest medical financing if needed.

Advanced TMD Treatments

Pain in your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) make it difficult to chew, speak, and enjoy your life. Since there are many possible causes, symptoms, and solutions for temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), schedule a consultation with Dr. Despina Markogiannakis at her office in Chevy Chase, MD, where she will give you a thorough examination before making a diagnosis and discussing various treatment options to address your TMD. Contact the team at Smiles of Chevy Chase to get more information and schedule your appointment.

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