Orthodontist located in Fairfax, VA

TMD services offered in Fairfax, VA

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a common joint condition that often causes significant pain. Kristin Nelson, DDS, MDS, of Metropolitan Orthodontics in Fairfax, Virginia, offers treatment that can help. If you’re concerned about jaw pain or other unusual changes, call the office to schedule a visit or book online with just a few clicks. 


What is TMD?

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) occurs when a problem develops in one or both of the joints that connect your jaw to your skull. These are your temporomandibular joints, and you have one on either side of your face. 

These are sliding joints, and they enable your jaw to open and close as well as move from side-to-side. They contain a network of bones, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues. A problem with any of these components can lead to TMD. 

When you consider the frequency with which you use your temporomandibular joints, it’s surprising that TMD isn’t even more common. Your jaw performs a multitude of movements throughout each day and takes on the strong force when you chew tough or hard foods. 

What are some symptoms of TMD?

Knowing what to look for can help you know when to seek treatment for TMD. Some of the indications that you may have a problem with your temporomandibular joint include:

  • Pain in your face or jaw
  • Headaches
  • Limited ability to open or close your mouth
  • Clicking or popping sounds when you open or close your mouth
  • Facial swelling
  • Sensations of tingling or numbness in your face or jaw
  • Changes in the way your upper and lower teeth meet when you bite

If you experience these changes, schedule a diagnostic visit right away to determine if you have TMD. 

What kinds of treatments can help with TMD?

One of the best ways to treat TMD is by wearing a custom-fitted orthodontic appliance. These devices fit over your teeth and create a subtle change in the way you hold your jaw. 

Devices worn during the day are called splints, while devices worn while asleep are called night guards. Dr. Nelson explains which option is best for your needs and lets you know how often and for how long you need to wear your oral appliance. 

For mild pain or swelling, hot or cold packs can help, as can over-the-counter pain medication. You might also need to choose softer foods for a time to give your jaw a chance to heal. 

These conservative measures are often all it takes to resolve TMD. In advanced cases, surgical intervention is needed to fully correct the problem if oral appliances are not successful. 

When you’re ready to learn more, call Metropolitan Orthodontics to book a visit or schedule online in just a matter of moments.