TMJ Specialist

The Wilhelm Dental Group

General Dentists & Cosmetic Dentists located in La Plata, MD

If you have chronic jaw pain or have noticed a clicking or grating sound when you open and close your mouth, you might have TMJ disorder. Eric Wilhelm, DDS, provides exceptional treatment for TMJ disorder at The Wilhelm Dental Group in La Plata, Maryland. Schedule your visit today by calling the office or booking online, and make your jaw pain a thing of the past.

TMJ Q & A

What is TMJ?

TMJ stands for “temporomandibular joint.” It’s a sliding, hinge-like joint that connects your jawbone to your skull’s temporal bones and enables you to speak, talk, and yawn. 

TMJ disorder, or TMD, is a condition that affects the proper functioning of your temporomandibular joint. It can make it painful to move your jaw or open and close your mouth and can cause headaches and neck aches.

Many people frequently and incorrectly say “TMJ” when they’re actually referring to “TMD.” TMD is the abbreviation for the disorder, whereas TMJ is the abbreviation for the joint.

TMD occurs more often in women than in men and is most commonly seen in patients between the ages of 20 and 40. 

What are the symptoms of TMJ disorder?

TMJ disorder can cause: 

  • Pain in your jaw, neck, or ears
  • Ringing or stuffiness in your ears
  • A grating, clicking, or popping sound when you move your jaw
  • Jaw swelling
  • Muscle spasms
  • An uncomfortable feeling in your bite, like your teeth don’t fit together
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Limited range of motion in your jaw

The type and severity of symptoms of TMJ disorder vary widely from person to person. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule a consultation with The Wilhelm Dental Group. 

What causes TMJ disorder?

There is no single cause of TMJ disorder, but rather a variety of conditions that can lead to it, such as:

  • Crooked teeth that prevent your jaw from properly closing
  • Bruxism, or grinding your teeth
  • Damage or injury to your jaw
  • Arthritis in your jaw

Ultimately, TMJ is caused by any factor that can throw off the proper functioning of your jaw joint.

How do you treat TMJ disorder?

Treatment for TMJ disorder begins with a consultation. The team at The Wilhelm Dental Group performs a full occlusal analysis to determine the severity of your condition, then devises a plan that treats your TMJ appropriately. 

It’s always best to start conservatively with the treatment of TMJ disorder before moving on to more complex or invasive procedures. Some of your initial treatments might include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Special oral appliances, like a jaw splint
  • Medications that relax the jaw and alleviate pain
  • Lifestyle changes, like stress reduction and sleeping on your back

If a conservative approach doesn’t alleviate your problem, the team might recommend more involved treatments to restore proper functioning to your jaw, like braces or joint injections.

Whatever path you need to free you from TMJ disorder, The Wilhelm Dental Group can help guide you. Schedule a visit today by calling the office or booking online.