The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge that connects the jaw to the skull via the temporal bones in front of each ear. It is a very important joint, allowing up, down, and side to side motion for talking, eating, and other complex actions.
A downside to the complexity of this joint is that issues in this area can be destabilizing and difficult to treat. Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) can make everyday life quite complicated and painful. We strive to help our patients heal and
recover from these disorders.
In addition to the TMJ, physical therapists at Bethesda Physiocare® also assess oculomotor, cranial nerve, and vestibular function as part of our comprehensive orofacial therapy program.
Given that TMD comes in varying complexities and severities (e.g., myofascial pain, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) inflammation, etc.), our clinic utilizes a comprehensive evaluation process to determine the best treatment process for every individual.
Once we determine the extent of your TMD, we will recommend a number of treatment methods for the longest-lasting results. These include:
If your TMD is severe, we may recommend pairing our services with a specialized dentist, physician, or jaw specialist who may prescribe other options like a dental splint. However, many of our patients are able to return to normal TMJ function through physical therapy alone.
Despite the fact that many people will experience TMJ pain and discomfort in their lifetime, most physical therapists never receive any formal education or training in this region. In fact, a recent report sponsored by the office of the Director of The National Institute of Health and by The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research concluded that “although less invasive and more evidence-based approaches for temporomandibular joint and orofacial pain disorders are available, some dentists continue to rely on aggressive or costly procedures as a first-line treatment.”
All physical therapists in our clinic are trained in orofacial therapy and have intimate knowledge of the TMJ and the surrounding musculature. Dr. Dommerholt has become a leader in the field of TMJ therapy, contributing to textbooks, books, and published research.
We also work closely with referring physicians, dentists, oral surgeons, ear-nose-and-throat specialists, and orthodontists to determine the best course of action for each patient.
Orofacial therapy is a delicate, specialized field that our clinic is well-versed in. Clients across the nation have visited our clinic to receive the special care that our physical therapists provide.
Contact Bethesda Physiocare® to learn more about our TMJ treatment and schedule an appointment!