TMJ Treatment

TMJ Surgery

In cases of a temporomandibular disorder, Pashapour Oral + Facial Surgery offers TMJ treatment in Washington, DC. The temporomandibular joints, which are commonly referred to as TMJ, are the 2 joints on either side of our face that join the jaw and facial bone together. The TMJ are a pair joint where the jawbone (mandible) meets the base of the skull (temporal bone). These joints are located just forward of the ears. Because the TMJ are a pair joint, they must operate effectively in unison in order to properly open and close the jaw. The TMJ are one of the most complicated joints within the human body. These joints are the only joints within the body that have a rigid end point of closure, which is where the teeth meet to avoid excessive jaw movement.

The mandible and temporal bones are connected through the articular disc, which is an oval-shaped piece of cartilage that protects these 2 bones from direct contact. This disc is what allows the jaw to open smoothly and comfortably. Due to the frequency we use the TMJ when speaking and eating multiple times throughout the day, it is not uncommon for patients to experience painful or uncomfortable symptoms relating to these joints. Painful symptoms may occur when there is a disorder with the TMJ that results in the articular disc slipping out from between the bones or becoming stuck in a certain position.

What is TMD?

The term TMD stands for temporomandibular disorder or, in some cases, temporomandibular dysfunction. TMD is an umbrella term that is used to describe instances where the muscles and joints of the TMJ are negatively affected or are not functioning properly. TMD may result in an inability to open or close the mouth, muscle pain, or difficulty eating or talking. With TMD, patients may experience open lock, which is when the TMJ are not functioning properly and result in the jaw being locked in the open position. This typically occurs when the articular disc moves too far forward while you open your mouth, resulting in the disc getting stuck in this position.


Disc displacement with reduction is also another common form of TMD that results in the articular disc moving forward too soon. This slight displacement of the articular disc often causes a popping sound as the jawbone clicks back into the correct place along the articular disc while opening the mouth. Disc displacement without reduction occurs when the articular disc has slipped forward and there is no cushioning between the jawbone and temporal bone. In some cases, the articular disc may slip too far out of place and result in a closed lock where the jaw is unable to be opened fully or properly. As additional strain is placed on the TMJ, degeneration of the articular disc may occur. Without proper treatment for TMJ disorders, these symptoms often worsen. Fortunately, TMJ treatments can help treat these symptoms and restore jaw functionality.

What are the symptoms of TMD?

There are a variety of symptoms that may occur with TMD, which will vary depending on the particular dysfunction you are experiencing with your TMJ. Patients suffering from TMD may experience headaches, worn teeth, tenderness in the face, neck, shoulders, or area of the jaw, a clicking or popping sensation while opening the mouth or chewing, and pain behind the eyes. Additional symptoms include ringing in the ears, the inability to open the mouth, and the inability to close the mouth. TMD often causes difficulty when performing daily activities, such as eating, chewing, speaking, or yawning.

What causes TMD?

One of the most common causes of TMD is an injury or trauma to the TMJ or the surrounding muscles that help operate the joint. When these muscles or ligaments are compromised, the articular disc of the TMJ often slips, degenerates, or becomes stuck, resulting in TMD symptoms. TMD may also develop in patients with anxiety who often clench their jaw or grind their teeth when they are nervous. Another common cause for TMD is a misaligned bite. When you have missing or crooked teeth, you may be unable to properly bite down. This results in your overall bite becoming misaligned, causing strain in your TMJ and the development of TMD.

What TMJ Treatments Are Available?

Dr. Pashapour and his surgical team will first attempt to treat your TMD with nonsurgical TMJ treatments, such as medication or therapy. If these treatments do not help alleviate your symptoms, we may suggest a TMJ surgery. While TMJ surgery is a highly effective TMJ treatment, we typically only suggest it in more severe cases of TMD.


What Are The Advantages of TMJ Surgery?

TMJ surgeries can help correct complications with the articular disc and surrounding structures. The majority of TMJ surgeries are performed using an arthroscope, which makes them much less invasive than traditional surgery. Restorative dental work, orthognathic surgery, and TMJ open joint repair are some TMJ surgeries that can help alleviate the symptoms of TMD.

How can I get started with a TMJ treatment?

Dr. Pashapour and his staff at Pashapour Oral + Facial Surgery would be happy to discuss the details of a TMJ treatment with you. To schedule an appointment in Washington, DC or Arlington, please call our office at 703-566-1990 or request an appointment online.

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Educational Background

Georgetown University The University of Pennsylvania School Of Dental Medicine Drexel University College Of Medicine University Of Medicine & Dentistry Of New Jersey

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