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Chevy Chase, MD 20815
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TMJ Treatment - Chevy Chase, MD

Got Jaw Pain? Consider Jaw Therapy!

Today, millions of Americans suffer day in and day out from chronic pain that’s located in the neck, face, and jaw. A great deal of this discomfort comes from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMD. Your temporomandibular joints have the crucial job of connecting the mandible to the skull, and they also facilitate the necessary movements as you eat, speak, yawn, and smile. This constant use can result in damaging and outright debilitating consequences for your quality of life. Thankfully, Dr. Ronan Freyne can help with focused TMJ therapy here in Chevy Chase. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re ready to pursue the high-quality, trustworthy care you deserve!

TMJ/TMD Symptoms

Young man in dental chair in pain holding faceCommon TMJ symptoms that patients should be aware of include the following:

  • Constant headaches or neck aches
  • Chronic discomfort located in and around the jaw
  • Pain that feels like an earache
  • Facial swelling
  • Constant clicking or popping sounds when the jaw is moved
  • A jaw that constantly locks into place or a mouth that is difficult to open fully
  • Continuous muscle spasms in the jaw

How Do You Treat TMD?

Dentists look at patient chart and x-rays on tabletIf you suspect that you may be suffering from TMD, let Dr. Freyne know right away. He will start by carefully inspecting your jaw joints and bite and forming a diagnosis. Once our team better understands the severity of your condition and the potential causes behind it, we can formulate an effective treatment plan. For instance, if a misaligned bite is a likely culprit behind chronic TMJ pain, occlusal (bite) adjustment may be capable of restoring harmony to your smile. Alternatively, a custom-made occlusal splint can be worn to cushion the teeth and prevent bruxism or tooth grinding (another likely cause of TMJ disorder) while also providing a much more comfortable resting position for your jaw.

Occlusal Splints

An occlusal splint

Designed to look like a mouthguard, an occlusal splint serves to protect your teeth against grinding and clenching. Your dentist in Chevy Chase will have your occlusal splint custom-made to ensure it fits comfortably in your mouth, and the materials used will keep you from having to buy a new one every few months. Occlusal splints are made to last many years with proper care.

Over time, you will notice a difference in your bite, but you can expect adjustments to be necessary the longer you wear the splint. The reason for this is that in order to eradicate your TMJ, your bite must continue to work for you, not against you.

BOTOX Therapy for TMJ

A woman having Botox injections

If you think Botox injections are just for removing fine lines and wrinkles, you’ll be pleased to know it can also alleviate the symptoms associated with TMJ/TMD and have you feeling relief in your jaw. When your jaw is moving in a way that puts additional stress on the temporomandibular joints, this is when TMD can occur. The botulinum toxin is designed to paralyze certain muscles when injected into specified areas. Should Dr. Freyne decide that Botox injections are an appropriate method of TMJ therapy in Chevy Chase, you’ll begin to notice a difference in the way your jaw feels in as little as a week or even a few days.

TMJ Therapy FAQs

Dr. Freyne and our team would love to help you find freedom from the pain, discomfort, and inconveniences associated with TMJ disorder. Before you visit us for a consultation, however, you may be eager to learn more about how treatment works and what you can expect along your journey toward relief. Below, you will find some relevant information. If your questions are not answered here, give us a call. Our team will be pleased to speak with you.

Can TMJ Be Cured Permanently?

Some forms of TMJ treatment, such as BOTOX injections, aim to provide fast pain relief. However, they do not usually address the root cause of the pain, so they are often combined with other treatment methods. For example, an occlusal splint can provide long-term relief if it is used properly.

Whether or not your symptoms return after successful treatment depends on several factors, including your lifestyle, whether you incur any injuries, your dental health, and more.

Can TMJ Be Fixed with Braces?

In some cases, TMJ disorder occurs because the upper and lower teeth do not work harmoniously together. This issue, known as a bad bite or malocclusion, can sometimes be corrected with metal braces or Invisalign. However, since orthodontia can take several months or longer to complete its job, it may be necessary to use other pain relief techniques in the meantime. In some cases, jaw pain can increase during orthodontic treatment as the jaw and bite are repositioned into their correct places.

Is TMJ Treatment Safe?

Most TMJ treatment methods are quite safe. As long as you receive care from a qualified team of dental professionals, the risk of something going seriously wrong is minimal. Plus, most TMJ treatment methods are either non-invasive or minimally invasive, meaning that any potential side effects are likely to be mild.

More invasive treatments, such as surgery, have a higher potential for complications. That is why they are usually recommended only as a last resort.

Is BOTOX for TMJ Safe?

BOTOX is a diluted form of botulinum toxin. Although that might sound a bit scary, the truth is that BOTOX injections for TMJ come with a very low risk of severe side effects. As long as the treatment is administered by a trained professional, and you are upfront and honest about your medical history, there is almost no chance that something will go seriously wrong.

If side effects occur, they are likely to be mild and temporary. They can include issues like redness, bruising, mild headaches, and temporary drooping of the eyelids. Mild nausea may also occur in some cases. If you are ever worried about your reaction to a BOTOX injection, call our team and describe the situation. We will do all we can to assist you.