Burke, Fairfax and Fairfax Station, VA

If you suffer from debilitating headaches and find yourself reaching for over-the-counter painkillers or prescription medications every day, you may be suffering from temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ or TMD), a condition that is known to cause chronic headaches, pain and/or clicking noises in the jaw and pain and/or ringing deep in the ears. If you regularly experience any or all of these symptoms, it’s time to put down the bottle of pain relievers and pick up the phone to call Fairfax’s TMJ dentist Dr. Pamela Marzban.

How can dentistry correct TMD?

It may surprise you to learn that the root of many chronic headaches is in the mouth and jaw. Our Burke family dentist who treats TMJ compiled the following list of key dental-related headache causes:

TMJ/TMD

TMD is a disorder of the TMJ, jaw muscles and ligaments that connect the jaw to the skull. The TMJ serve as sliding hinges, allowing the mouth to open and close smoothly. A disorder of the joints places tension and stress on the jaw joint muscles. As inflammation develops and blood flow is restricted, nerves compress in the jaw, face and head, causing head, neck and/or back pain.

Bruxism

The unconscious clenching and grinding of the teeth, especially during sleep, is called bruxism, and it causes muscle tension and headaches. This condition is very often undiagnosed by primary care physicians until Dr. Marzban identifies the signs of wear on a patient’s teeth.

Malocclusion

Malocclusion is another name for a bad bite. Misaligned teeth can cause improper bite patterns, leading to headaches and jaw muscle strain.

Mouth infections

Infections in the teeth or gums can cause referred pain that presents as headaches.

How can dentistry treat TMJ?

Depending on the cause and symptoms, Dr. Marzban, a neuromuscular dentist, is trained and equipped to treat TMD using a variety of approaches:

  • Oral appliance therapy — While more serious cases may be referred out for TMD surgery, our Fairfax TMJ specialist successfully treats most mild-to-moderate cases using simple and non-invasive, custom-made oral orthotic devices. These comfortable mouth guards are designed to hug your teeth, helping to reduce grinding and clenching during sleep. This alleviates pressure on the jaw joints, ligaments and muscles, allowing them to relax, consequently reducing the frequency of headaches.
  • Bite adjustment — Corrective dental treatments, such as tooth reshaping or Invisalign clear aligner orthodontics, can help improve the alignment of the teeth. When teeth fit together properly, it reduces stress on the TMJ.
  • Myofunctional therapy — Physical therapy for the mouth, myofunctional therapy uses isometric and isotonic exercises to strengthen and retrain the tongue and other muscles to eliminate bad habits and replace them with healthier ones.

TMJ treatment in Burke, Fairfax, and Fairfax Station, Virginia

If you are experiencing chronic headaches and haven’t been able to pinpoint why, the answer may be as close as your Fairfax family dentist office. Call Dr. Marzban at 703-323-8200 to schedule an appointment today.

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