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TMJ Treatment

TMJ Dentistry & Dental Night Guards Washington DC

Top-Rated Prosthodontist Serving the greater Washington DC area

TMJ and TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder/dysfunction) are descriptive terms used to describe a pain disorder caused by the misalignment of the jaws, which, in turn, results from skewed teeth or the incorrect placement of crowns or other restorations. Many patients with this syndrome suffer from severe chronic or acute pain, because their problems have not been properly addressed.

Your issues may be localized resulting in a gnawing jaw “ache”, or can be more diffuse with referred pain over your eyes or in your temples near the hairline mimicking a migraine headache. You may also experience issues in your teeth imitating endodontic (root canal) symptoms, in your ears with a stuffiness feeling and/or diminished hearing, in your eyes with double vision, or other symptoms.

Having written his master’s thesis on TMJ therapy during his prosthodontic specialty training, Dr. Gerald Marlin is uniquely qualified to treat this pain syndrome. In addition, he personally trained under one of the world’s foremost experts in myofascial pain treatment using “trigger point injections”.

Over the years, Dr. Marlin has successfully treated thousands of TMJ patients. Dr. Marlin’s treatments eliminated his patients’ intractable TMJ pain and dysfunction syndrome, and provided them with relief and a new found sense of security that they would not periodically feel debilitated.

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watch: Dr. marlin Discusses TMJ Treatment

If you suspect you are suffering from TMJ dysfunction, Dr. Gerald Marlin can help. Offering a range of safe and effective treatments, Dr. Marlin can customize a solution that eliminates your pain, restores alignment, corrects the bite, and produces lasting comfort. Call us at (202) 244-2101 to schedule a consultation and learn more.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

Symptoms of TMD that occur directly in or around the joint include:

  • Clicking, popping, or grinding noises in the jaw
  • Pain or swelling around the jaw joints
  • Difficulties opening and shutting the jaw
  • Uneven tooth wear

Other symptoms of this neuromuscular dental issue that may occur in the head and face include:

  • Generalized facial pain
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Sinus pressure and pain
  • Ear pain and ringing 

Left untreated and TMJ disorders may result in:

  • Neck, shoulder, and back pain
  • Forward projection of the neck
  • Postural changes
  • Digestive issues
TMJ infographic

Poor posture compresses the abdominal muscles and can lead to serious digestive problems. While not a symptom of TMD, digestive distress brought about by postural changes is not an uncommon consequence of TMJ Disorders.

Unfortunately, many of the symptoms of issues impacting the TMJ do not seem to be related to the jaw. This may result in people seeking treatments that mask the pain, but fail to correct the problem. If you have long struggled with pain in the face, head, or jaw, you may have an undiagnosed TMJ disorder.

At your initial consultation, Dr. Marlin will perform a thorough examination of your occlusion (bite) and all surrounding and supporting muscles. If your bite is not properly aligned, he can perform a simple occlusal adjustment by lightly shaping biting contacts that are higher. In some cases, simply providing harmony between teeth when in contact is all it takes to effectively eliminate TMD, though many other treatment options exist for patients who require a more progressive solution.

watch: Understand How Your Dentist is Best Positioned to Treat Your TMJ
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Trigger Point Injections and Trigger Point Massage Therapy

Dr. Marlin was personally trained on Trigger Point Injection therapy by Janet Travell, MD one the world’s foremost experts with trigger point injection and massage therapy. 

Dr. Marlin only provides this therapy after a thorough diagnostic workup, adjustment of your bite, the replacement of defective restorations causing the pain, and after first administering massage (shiatsu) therapy and “spray and stretch”. In very severe cases, Dr. Marlin uses trigger point injection therapy while performing these other therapies to help you manage your acute pain.

TMJ Treatment diagrams
From Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual By Janet G. Travell, MD and David G. Simons, MD

Trigger points are minute areas of hyperirritability (see illustration showing referred pain areas from one of the many muscles of the jaw). These microscopic trigger points result from hypercontraction of the muscle fibers that prevent nutrition from coming in and waste from being eliminated. This, in turn, can result in extreme irritation and pain. 

Trigger point massage therapy and injection are intended to release the chemical imbalance of the muscles, which often eliminates the pain.

If you have unresolved pain and/or other symptoms as discussed above, Dr. Gerald Marlin can help. Once he has analyzed the problem, Dr. Marlin will be able to customize a solution that corrects your bite and restores any jaw misalignment.  When necessary, he provides massage or injection therapy of the trigger points in the muscles of the jaw.

If you think your pain may be caused by TMD, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Marlin today. Call us at 202-244-2101 We treat TMD/TMJ patients from throughout the Washington D.C. area including Chevy Chase, Bethesda, Rockville and Potomac Maryland as well as Northern Virginia and outlying areas and abroad.

“Dr. Marlin is The Best!

I was in pain and unable to chew on the left side of my mouth for 5 years. I endured 4 root canals – not the problem. I was told it was neurological pain and put on horrible medications – not the problem. Multiple doctors told me I was just going to have to learn to live with the pain. I was referred to Dr. Marlin when issues arose fitting crowns to the four teeth with root canals and while trying to live with the pain.

Dr. Marlin had consults with me and my husband. He listened to me. He diagnosed my issue as muscular/TMJ related. He immediately fitted me with a TMJ night guard. He adjusted my bite slowly and over time. He made custom crowns for my teeth. He performed muscle trigger point therapy. He gave me exercises and I visited with him every 6 months.

I can now chew anything and everything. I never thought I would eat nuts, pretzels, or anything hard again. Dr. Marlin changed my life. I am no longer mentally consumed with my pain. In addition, his office staff is amazing. Everyone is friendly and helpful.

Dr. Marlin is pleasant and thorough. He will work with you always with your best interests in mind. I have zero reservations recommending Dr. Marlin to others.”

-Barbara H.

Night Guards for Neuromuscular Dental Issues

One of the biggest risk factors for TMJ dysfunction is bruxism (tooth grinding). Signs of grinding, such as uneven tooth wear or even recessed gums, may not be noticeable to you. Fortunately, they can be detected during your initial examination with Dr. Marlin or at your biannual cleanings and examinations. If you are a grinder, an occlusal guard may be useful. While not a full TMJ treatment, this option may work well for patients whose primary issue is bruxism.

This occlusal guard also serves as a night guard. Worn while you sleep, it will prevent you from grinding your teeth while gently holding your jaw in its ideal alignment. Over time, this helps retrain your jaw muscles, allowing for a natural bite position and the elimination of the painful and limiting symptoms of TMD.

If a night guard is recommended for you, Dr. Marlin’s team will take an impression of your teeth from which a custom-fit, durable acrylic night guard will be fabricated. We have found that, along with proper occlusion of your natural teeth, a well-fitting and functioning night guard can allow for a significant decrease in headaches, difficulties biting and chewing, and similarly painful and unpleasant issues related to jaw misalignment.

Contact Elite Prosthetic Dentistry Today!

To schedule a TMJ evaluation, call (202) 244-2101. Dr. Marlin helps TMD sufferers in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia, as well as patients from all corners of the world. Visit our Fly in for Service page to learn more.