If you suffer from pain in your jaw during routine facial movements, such as smiling, chewing and speaking, it’s possible that you’re one of 40 million Americans suffering from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.
“Dr. Hamrah, thank you meeting with my daughter, Kate, and me. I am most grateful for the uninterrupted time and attention you gave to us. Your pointed questions and detailed explanations of TMJ were very enlightening. Your calm manner and genuine concern provided comfort to what has been a slow and somewhat frustrating issue. Please know how much I appreciate your time, talent and guidance.” (by K.F.)
Commonly referred to as TMD or TMJ, temporomandibular joint disorder is the displacement of your temporomandibular joint, the ball-and-socket joint that connects your lower jaw and skull. Since the temporomandibular joint affects even the most basic jaw movements, proper functionality is essential to your health and well-being.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder Symptoms
The symptoms associated with temporomandibular joint disorder are elusive and can easily snowball into one another, commonly causing misdiagnoses. If you’ve suffered from chronic migraines, earaches and/or neck pain, it’s possible that the root of your pain lies within a misaligned jaw.
Other common TMJ symptoms are:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Painful and loose teeth
- Frequent jaw clicking, locking, or popping
- Pain behind your ears
- Morning headaches
- Inexplicable earaches or stuffiness
- Constant ringing in your ears
Causes of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
A misaligned temporomandibular joint can stem from numerous places. If you have suffered from the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder, it is wise to look into your past. Have you:
- suffered head trauma from a heavy contact sport or another source?
- been involved in a car accident that caused you whiplash?
- ever had a concussion?
These are all common springboards of a misaligned temporomandibular joint. However, genetics and daily habits such as poor posture, jaw clenching, teeth grinding, and gum chewing can also play a role.
Diagnosing Temporomandibular Joint Disorder
Since the symptoms of TMD/TMJ are easily mistaken for a number of other ailments, most people just refer to their medical doctors for treatment. This commonly results in a stressful cycle of specialist referral, medication for migraines or sleep apnea, and more daily pain. Only a skilled dentist or oral surgeon, like Dr. Daria Hamrah, can properly diagnose temporomandibular joint disorder.
If your dentist suspects that you’re suffering from a displaced temporomandibular joint, you will have your bite evaluated through a molding and x-rays. This will demonstrate how your jaw and bite interact with each other.
If you are found to have a displaced temporomandibular joint, you will then be referred to an oral surgeon, like Dr. Hamrah.
Treatment of TMD/TMJ
While some dentists will provide a treatment plan of tooth modifications and/or orthodontics, coupled with at-home remedies like changing your dietary habits and limiting your jaw movement, all this does is reduce your pain. For some, this may be enough. However, for severe cases where splint appliance and other modifications were unsuccessful, Dr. Hamrah uses surgical solutions including:
- Bite adjustment
- Open joint repair restructuring
Learn more by reading our Temporomandibular Joint Disorder Questions page.
If you live in the Washington, D.C. or Northern Virginia areas and believe you are suffering from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, please contact Dr. Hamrah today to schedule your personal consultation. Call our office at Novasurgicare Phone Number 703-288-4495. You need not suffer with this painful disorder any longer.