TMJ-TMD Treatment Ashburn VA
Anatomy of your TMJ
Your temporomandibular joints (left and right jaw joints) and their attached muscles are the most powerful system in your body. It uses your teeth to chop and grind your food for proper digestion and health. When these joints are dysfunctional, they make eating difficult and they can be painful.
Your TMJs are one of the few joints in the human body with a disc between its two bones—the upper bone is part of your skull and the lower is your jaw bone or mandible (the “M” part of TMJ). The disc allows the joints to move smoothly, even under great pressure. The contact part of the lower jaw with the disc is called the condyle and the skull bone in contact with the disc is called the fossa. The reason for this anatomy lesson is so that you can understand why you are having problems with your jaws
Disorders of your Temporomandibular Joint
The correct term for the pain or dysfunction of your temporomandibular joint is “TMD” for temporomandibular disorder. TMD is complicated and can involve problems with the TMJs, jaw muscles, ligaments, tendons, blood vessels, and the neck.
The two most common TMDs are jaw muscle pain and damage to the joint (condyle, disc and fossa). Muscle pain disorder is commonly caused by jaw muscle hyperactivity, like when you grind or clench your teeth, and is often accompanied by headaches in your temples. It can also be caused by a traumatic injury to your jaw. Joint damage disorders may include disc displacements, wearing of the two bones, or even severe arthritic changes. These disorders are often accompanied by pain in your jaw muscles.
How to tell whether you might have a TMD
You may have a TMD if you can’t fully open your jaws, your lower jaw locks open or closed, or you have joint noises such as clicking, popping and grinding, You may also have a TMD if you have pain in your jaw muscles, headaches in your temples or pain and stiffness in your neck.
Examination of your possible TMD
Your TMJ exam should include a thorough medical and dental history along with a description of your symptoms. It should also include a clinical examination of your teeth and bite, a range of motion evaluation of your TMJs, and an evaluation of jaw muscle tenderness. Sometimes your TMD diagnosis can be made from a clinical examination alone, but often x-rays of the jaw joints and diagnostic mounted models of your teeth are needed to understand the full extent of your problem.
Treatment of your TMD
Treatment can be as simple as taking precautions, such as rest and soft food diet to let your joints heal themselves. Sometimes pain medications like Ibuprofen will give you some pain relief, sometimes not. Sometimes physical therapy can help relieve your severe muscle pain or joint problems. Often occlusal splints are needed if you have a more complex problem that cannot be resolved by simple means. You might find an occlusal splint very effective for pain relief, and it can aid in positioning your lower jaw to improve function and lessen the recurrence of your symptoms. If you feel that what you have read here implies that you have a TMD, then we suggest you make an appointment to find out how severe it is and what we can do about it. Learn more about our Advanced Dental Technology.
Meet Dr. Leonard Poe, DC
Dr. Poe grew up in Charlotte, NC, and received his Bachelor’s Degree from the Virginia Military Institute. He took part in an extensive Spanish immersion program in Bolivia while attending VMI. Upon graduation from VMI, Dr. Poe returned to Charlotte where he worked for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.
In 2004, Dr. Poe left law enforcement to pursue a career in chiropractic. He attended the Parker University in Dallas, TX, where he received his Doctor of Chiropractic. While attending Parker University he was selected to participate in a chiropractic residency internship abroad in Mexico City, Mexico and was responsible for treating patients at public clinics and hospitals and was present to assist in spinal procedures. Dr. Poe has a working knowledge of the Spanish language and culture due to his experience living in Mexico and Bolivia.
After receiving his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree, Dr. Poe worked for eight years at the Roselle Center for Healing in Fairfax, VA. There he was a regular co-host of the Sunday radio program, “Dr. Tom Roselle Live.” Dr. Poe was also featured in the Emmy nominated television special, “Ageless Health.”
Dr. Poe has been committed to the use of Functional Medicine, including Neurology, Endocrinology and Immunology in his approach to the treatment of patients. He is certified as a Professional Applied Kinesiologist and served on the Board of Directors for the International College of Applied Kinesiology. Dr. Poe includes chiropractic, physiotherapy, nutrition and acupuncture philosophy in the treatment of his patients to continually improve their health and wellness. To stay up to date with all the current medical information and techniques Dr. Poe frequently participates in continuing education seminars and is currently working toward advanced certifications in nutrition, neurology and acupuncture.
Dr. Poe is committed to finding and treating the causes of a patient's problems. Dr. Poe will perform TMJ manipulations and adjustments in conjunction with dental treatment.
Meet our amazing dental team at Ashburn Dental Care