12070 Old Line Centre, Suite 101
Waldorf, MD 20602
(301) 645-8530


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Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)

Millions of Americans suffer from chronic facial and neck pain as well as recurring headaches. In some cases, this pain is due to Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD.

Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) connect your lower jawbone to your skull. These joints get a lot of use throughout the day as you speak, chew, swallow, and yawn. Pain in and around these joints can be unpleasant and may even restrict movement.

Symptoms of TMD include:

  • Pain in the jaw area
  • Pain, ringing, or stuffiness in the ears
  • Frequent headaches or neck aches
  • Clicking or popping sound when the jaw moves
  • Swelling on the sides of the face
  • Muscle spasms in the jaw area
  • A change in the alignment of top and bottom teeth
  • Locked jaw or limited opening of the mouth

Should you notice any of these symptoms, let your doctor know. Your dentist can help indicate the presence of TMD, and create an effective treatment just for you.

There are a few simple steps you can take at home or work to prevent TMD from becoming more severe, or to prevent it from occurring:

  • Relax your face — remember the rule: "Lips together, teeth apart"
  • Avoid grinding your teeth
  • Avoid constant gum chewing
  • Don’t cradle the phone receiver between your head and shoulder — either use a headset or hold the receiver to your ear
  • Chew food evenly on both sides of your mouth
  • Do not sit with your chin rested on your hand
  • Practice good posture — keep your head up, back straight, and shoulders squared

TMJ: The Great Masquerader

TMJ Dysfunction is a popular term to describe a disorder of the jaw joints or the muscles that control the joints. Dentists use various terms to describe this same disorder. More appropriately, the term "Craniomandibular Dysfunction" should be used.

Craniomandibular Dysfunction is a dental term which describes a collection of symptoms which result when the chewing muscles and jaw joints do not work together correctly.

"TMJ" is a popular term commonly used to describe the same group of symptoms. TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joints. These are the two joints that connect your jaw to your skull. When these joints are out of place, they can cause many problems, such as: Clicking or popping of the Jaw Joints, Pain in or around the jaw joints (in front of the ears), locking or limited opening of your mouth.

Symptoms masquerade as a multitude of other problems, such as sinus headaches, migraines, neck and shoulder stiffness, and earaches. Such symptoms may relate to your bite.

  • Clicking and/or popping of the jaw joints
  • Grinding or clenching of the teeth
  • Frequent headaches (especially temporal, back of head)
  • Ear aches or ringing in the ears
  • Neck, shoulder, or back pain
  • Difficulty opening or closing the mouth
  • Bite feels off or the bite is unstable
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Numbness and/or tingling in the arms and fingers
  • Sore throat (without infection)
  • Blurred vision and/or bloodshot eyes

How do you treat TMJ Dysfunction?

Each person that may suffer from TMJ dysfunction is an individual and is unique. Therefore, Dr. Vass customizes the treatment for each case and each individual. Treatment includes but is not limited to:

  • Customized appliance or night guard to protect the teeth and reduce stress on the joints.
  • Physical therapy to relax the jaw muscles and ease muscle tension.
  • Restorative dental and/or orthodontic treatment to correct teeth and the bite.
  • Eat with care, avoid triggers (such as gum chewing), and maintain good posture.

When you entrust your care to our office to diagnose and treat your facial, head and neck pain disorder, be assured that you have chosen or been referred to a highly trained dentist who treats this type of pain. We have a proven tract record for effectively diagnosing and treating hundreds of pain sufferers with conservative therapy. We can eliminate your facial, head, and/or neck pain, and ear pain (in most cases) without extensive use of drugs or surgical treatment. Our primary goal, whether we are treating you for cavities, or for missing teeth, or for infections, or for TMJ problems is to help you become pain free and function normally in your everyday life.

We are here to help. Our office is very aware of how chronic pain can affect your everyday lives, how patients need special attention and superior treatment and handling when a jaw is locked open or locked closed, the muscles around a jaw joint are in spasm or the muscles around the neck and head are in spasm and/ pain.

Why should you come to our office for TMJ treatment?

  • Experience, extensive training and a history of successful treatment of TMJ disorders.
  • Conservative, non-surgical treatment.
  • Personal supervision of each and every patient until the problem is resolved.
  • Individual specific treatment as a result of thorough examinations and knowledge of the problems of TMJ
  • Emergency assistance
  • Training and dedication to providing the best possible treatment for optimum results.

Advanced training courses in TMJ training taken by Dr. Vass:

  • Certificate in Neuromuscular Occlusion form Myotronics Institute, Seattle, WA.
  • Certificate in TMJ Workshop: Start Jaw to Jaw with Dr. Ben Pereira, NY
  • Annual Seminars of the Academy of Craniomandibular Disorders, NY
  • Diagnosis and treatment of TMJ: Use of MORA and Functionals, NY
  • Diagnosis and Treatment of TMJ: Use of Functional Appliances, Minn., MN
  • Diagnosis and Treatment of TMJ: American Academy of Functional Orthopedics, VA.
  • Diagnosis and Treatment of TMJ: American Academy of Functional Orthopedics, NY
  • Advanced TMJ, Orthodontics, and Orthopedics: with John Witzig, Minn., MN.
  • TMJ and Nutrition: American Academy of Functional Orthopedics, Wash, D.C.
  • TMJ Diagnosis and Treatment: Franco Mongini, Northeast Seminars, Atlanta, GA.
  • Advanced Treatment of TMJ: Harold Gelb, St. Louis, MO
  • Begg Orthodontics: Year long course in Pittsburg, PA, American Orthodontic Society
  • Diagnosis and Treatment of TMJ Disorders using Electronic Equipment: Wash., D.C.
  • Symposium on TMJ: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
  • Myofascial Release Seminar: John Barnes & the Center for Pain Control, PA.
  • Cranial Techniques for the Treatment of TMJ: Preventive Health Dynamics, NY
  • Diagnosis and Treatment of TMJ Disorders: Peter Neff, Wash, D.C.
  • Sleep Apnea and TMJ Disorders: University of Kentucky
  • Cervical Whiplash Injuries and TMJ Disorders: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

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