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TMJ Specialist

Premium Family Dental

General Dentistry & Cosmetic Dentistry located in Krispy Kreme Shopping Center, Alexandria, VA

Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, is a serious health problem that can cause significant pain. Vu Nguyen, DDS, and Keehong Kwon, DDS, of Premium Family Dental in Alexandria, Virginia, have extensive experience helping men and women find lasting relief from the symptoms of TMJ. Don’t allow jaw problems to grow worse when there are safe and effective treatments that can help. Book an appointment online or over the phone with Premium Family Dental today.

TMJ Q & A

What is TMJ?

Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, is a condition in which the joint that connects your jaw to your skull is damaged or inflamed. TMJ is sometimes referred as temporomandibular joint syndrome. 

You can feel your temporomandibular joint by placing your fingers immediately in front of your ears and then opening and closing your mouth. Like all joints, your temporomandibular joint contains bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, blood vessels, and other tissues. A problem with any of these components can lead to joint pain. 

Symptoms of TMJ include jaw pain or sensitivity, a popping sound when you open or close your mouth, stiff neck muscles, headaches, or pain in the temple or ear. 

What causes TMJ?

Some cases of TMJ are brought on by a traumatic injury, like an auto accident or a sports injury. Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint condition, can also cause problems with your temporomandibular joint. 

Additional causes of TMJ include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Infection
  • Certain cancers
  • Congenital bone deformity

The most common cause of TMJ, however, is a condition called bruxism in which you habitually grind or clench your teeth, usually at night. This pressure not only wears down your teeth, it also places undue force on the joints that enable jaw movement. 

What are some treatments for TMJ?

Your treatment plan is created to meet your specific set of needs. Medications can help by relaxing the muscles in your jaw, and antibiotics can be a good option if an infection is to blame for your joint pain. 

Some men and women find relief through physical therapy, which teaches you how to stretch and strengthen the joint. Changing your daily habits can also be effective, like avoiding resting your chin in your hand or holding your phone between your jaw and neck. 

If teeth grinding or clenching is the cause of your joint pain, wearing a custom-fitted night guard is a great option. Your dentist can help you find a guard that is comfortable to use and prevents you from harming your teeth or jaw during the night. 

If you’d like to learn more about treatment options for temporomandibular joint disorder, call the office today to book a consultation, or spend a few moments on the online scheduling page.