TMJ Dentist – TMJ Specialist Burtonsville Maryland

TMJ Dentist / TMJ Specialist Doctor in Burtonsville Silver Spring and Columbia Maryland

Searching for TMJ Dentist near me?

tmj doctorWhat is TMD? What are the most common TMD pain symptoms? Are you looking for a local doctor who specializes in TMJ treatment options? Our TMJ specialist office is in Burtonsville near Silver Spring and Columbia Maryland, DC Metro Area? Dr. Gary Adams is one of the best local jaw pain specialists. What separates our practice

tmj dentist is our special focus in temporomandibular joint disorder or TMD. Our goal is to correct the underlying causes of the problem. Not treat symptoms and give you band-aid treatments such as night guards to wear at night for the rest of your life. Our unique approach to treatment gets people better and does not involve surgery. We truly have some of the best treatments for severe jaw disorders. Our TMJ therapy and neuromuscular dentistry can correct the cause of facial pain and relieve pain from tooth clenching and tooth grinding and many other painful symptoms including jaw popping, neck tension, headaches, poor posture and poor sleep.



Symptoms of TMJ facial pain include:

  1. Jaw soreness and tension especially in the morning
  2. Jaw joint popping and clicking
  3. Limited opening and range of motion of jaw joints
  4. Teeth wear, tear, cracking. history of past root canals, tooth implants, crowns and fillings by the gum line
  5. Gum recession
  6. Loose teeth
  7. Ear fullness, feeling of fluid in the ear or it needs to pop and sometimes loss of hearing
  8. Unstable tooth position. Constant need for retainers, teeth that are always shifting
  9. Sleep apnea
  10. Tied Tongue or Tied Lip
  11. Headaches, possibly migraines, especially in the Temporal area and up around and behind the eyes
  12. Sinus Pressure or feeling of having a Sinus Infection
  13. Neck and shoulder tension, upper back pain
  14. Tingling in the fingers and extremities


Vivos DNA Appliance for TMD and Sleep Apnea

tmj dentist“One of the best appliances for TMJ therapy is the DNA Vivos appliance device” Our TMJ dentist, Dr. Adams see patients who suffer from TMD all over Maryland DC, Virginia, the USA and abroad. “Every case is unique…Dr. Adams, the TMJ dentist, specializes in diagnosing your jaw problems. He will evaluate the cause of your symptoms, pain and develop a treatment plan that is right for you.

The difference in the DNA Appliance and most other appliances is that the DNA Appliance corrects the cause of the problem and patients who undergo the treatment will get better. By contrast, most other treatments will result in an appliance to be worn indefinitely and the patient will only feel partially better and only as long as they wear the appliance.

The best way to treat TMJ is to prevent it from ever happening. That is why I enjoy seeing kids to diagnose problems such as crowded teeth, cross bite and tied tongue and tied lips ( aka lingual frenum and maxillary and mandibular frenums ). One of the best appliances for kids in this regard is the ALF appliance. The ALF promotes proper jaw balance and growth in children.

DNA Appliance Therapy can improve and many cases cure:

  • TMJ Symptoms – jaw popping / clicking and soreness, neck pain, migraine headaches, sinusitis pressure and pain
  • Sleep Apnea – The appliance helps the jaws grow larger, creates space in the jaws and facial bones for proper breathing, tongue space and position.
  • Postural problems – neck pain, shoulder blade, back pain, tight trapezius muscles
  • Orthodontic Problems through Natural Orthodontics

What are the Treatments for TMJ Disorder Video by Dr. Gary Adams


What Causes TMD Pain Video

Tooth Clenching, Tooth Grinding, Bruxism and TMJ Disorder Pain are caused by TWO things:

  1. Upper Airway Restriction Syndrome (UARS) is caused by a small mouth, small nasal passageways and crowded tongue, teeth and tonsil spaces. Clenching is the body defending your airway from obstructions such as a large tongue. During deep sleep all the muscles in your body relax and become flacid including the tongue. When the tongue does not fit properly in the mouth, it settles into the throat and gets in the way of night time breathing. That is when the clenching starts and  you wake up into a lighter sleep. In lighter sleep, your tongue regains its tone and comes out of the airway. People who suffer from UARS symptoms should be tested for sleep apnea. 77% of people with sleep apnea suffer from severe TMJ symptoms.
  2. Bad Bite that is not comfortable
  3. Stress and poor work conditions are major contributing or exacerbating factors, but they do not cause TMJ sypmtoms or pain alone.

DNA Appliance is a novel treatment. The DNA device balances the bite and opens small obstructed airways. The DNA has many uses but our TMJ specialist uses it in many cases to correct and cure the conditions that cause TMD pain and UARS disease.

What is the Temporomandibular Joint?

tmj doctorThe temporomandibular joint is the joint that literally connects the jawbone to the head. The Jaw bone is the mandible and the head consists of several bones including the temporal bone. tmj is an acronym for temporomandibular joint. The joint rotates and slides down and forward in its open position. It is the only joint in the body capable of 3D movement. The jaw joint plays a key role in overall posture and dictates how the head sits on the vertebral column.

Paradoxically, while the discussion is “tmj-tmd”, the problem or symptoms we call tmj normally are caused by dysfunction in areas surrounding the joint. That is, the jaw-joint itself is rarely the actual problem or the true source / cause of pain. Treatment and therapy to all the anatomy and function surrounding the jaw joint is the key to treatment and every case is not the same. The approach to treatment will rarely be the same from one person to the next who has this jaw problem. Most of the pain symptoms come from poor jaw position and tooth clenching, but the million dollar question is “why do people chench their teeth?”  “How can we correct the cause of tooth clenching?” How can we create rest, space and comfort about all this head and neck tension?

How are Jaw Disorders Diagnosed?

Usually, the patient can diagnose themselves, but the condition is confirmed by a specially trained tmj dentist. The tmj-tmd doctor will usually look at the

  1. relationship of the upper and lower jaws,
  2. how the teeth fit top to bottom to determine if the bite is off.
  3. look at the airway,
  4. tongue position,
  5. overall posture
  6. muscle patterns relating to chewing, head-neck movements, stride and breathing patterns
  7. evaluation of the jaw joint to see if there is any popping, clicking or asymmetric movements
  8. range of motion of key joints including jaw joints, neck, shoulder, ribs and hips.

How are TM Disorders Treated?

Treated with physical therapy, bite appliances, airway opening appliances. We often use the DNA appliance which does all of these things. Sometimes the use of a Gelb appliance and bite splints is necessary in extreme cases. We generally try to make it our goal to diagnose the root cause of tmj symptoms and perform tmd treatments that are curative and corrective. We hope to re-establish the anatomic and physiologic positions and functions where the patient will be better, stable and not ever have problems in the future.

What should you do if you think you have TMD?

Give us a call and our TMJ dentist will perform an evaluation. Or send us an email. We will perform an exam to determine if you have a tmj-tmd diagnosis. Based on your situation, we will put together a treatment plan to get you better.

Is there a link between TMJ and Sleep Apnea?

Yes. 77% of people who have Sleep Apnea have TMD-TMJ and pain. The root cause of TMD symptoms is related to airway problems and improper breathing function at night time. When there is night time airway problems, it initiates the clench reflex and here in lies the cause of all our problems. 80% of people who “clench their teeth” do not know because they are asleep. The clench reflex usually does not wake the person up all the way but rather into a lighter sleep where the tongue and other “obstructions” regain muscular tone and the airway becomes fully patent again.  This is a very complex syndrome but the overall concept is simple: Bad airway causes clenching and tons of neuro-muscular tension, posture problems and dental damage. TMJ dentist options are important.

TMD Pain is often Mis Diagnosed and Treated improperly as chronic idiopathic pain with Drugs

tmj syndrome (TMS) is often misdiagnosed as other things such as ear or sinus Infection. Others have migraine headaches and think they are just chronic migraine headache sufferers.  It is common for people to “tolerate” Jaw tension, tooth clenching and believe they are “too stressed out” or “work too much at a computer or desk.”

TMS patients have often seen many professionals including neurologists, chiropractors, physical therapists and ENT doctors.  Many times the diagnosis is missed or the patient receives migraine drugs for headaches from the neurologist. TMS symptoms can be treated and cured by a properly trained and experienced specialist. At Maryland Natural Dentist, we treat temporomandibular  syndrome with a focus on a specific tms diagnosis and custom treatment plan.

Night Guard for TMJ?

Leading TMJ therapy dentists do not recommend night guards as a remedy for TMS. There is no miracle device for tmj-tmd therapy. To get better, a specific diagnosis and treatment plan is necessary if you want to get better. If someone does not have the time or money to do corrective treatment, a night time appliance may be a good temporary solution to help with painful symptoms.

Splint vs Mouth Guard / Night Guard

A night guard is a piece of plastic or acrylic that is made using the patients current bite path of closure. It is typically a little more balanced but does not involve a charge in the patients present bite path. A Splint is an appliance that makes a change to the path of closure and is corrective in nature. A splint is usually made after a detailed evaluation of the patients present bite, a diagnosis as to what is wrong and the appliance has a new bite path and position that should be a more restful place for tmj Jaw joints and muscles. A splint is an orthotic and does not make any permanent changes to the patients mouth or teeth positions. The purpose of a splint is to establish a new more correct bite position and relieve the patients symptoms. Often more definitive treatment like a Vivos DNA appliance. Therapy is performed after successful splint therapy. A night guard usually is of little to no value for TM therapy. A mouth guard is more appropriate for sports applications, etc.

Why is it necessary to treat TMJ-TMD. What happens if a TMJ Dentist does not treat the problem?

The upper teeth sit in the base of the human skull and directly in front of the entrance of the spinal cord into the brain cavity and directly underneath the Pituitary Gland. The longterm consequences of TMJ-oral facial disease is dental breakdown, airway failure including sleep apnea and full-body postural failure including muscular and skeletal dysfunction and breakdown especially in the head, neck shoulders, back and hips, increased stress, hormonal dysfunction and metabolic issues.  Increasingly TMJ patients with facial pain are found to be victims or poor pediatric facial development and or incomplete /difficult orthodontics involving tooth extractions, retraction and or aggressive Palatal Expansion. Many TMJ pain cases can be relieved with DNA Appliance Therapy. The DNA device can reverse some of the negative effects of retractive orthodontics. These Therapies are done in our office by our TMJ dentist.

In some more severe cases of TMJ there may be joint breakdown. In these cases a joint vibration analysis and CBCT Cone Beam Scan of the joints is indicated. joint vibration analysis is a technique created by Dr. Piper for purposes of determining the condition of the joint and the capsular disc. Very few cases will need surgery, but sometimes surgery may be necessary if the TM joints are damaged and do not function properly. Untreated TMS can lead to TM joint breakdown and the need for surgery by an oral maxillofacial surgeon.

What Kind of Doctors Specialize in TMD Therapy?

The is no such thing as a TMJ dentist as a matter of credential. Some of the doctors who may have training in TMD pain relief therapies are: general dentists, oral surgeons, prosthodontists, physical therapists, osteopaths. We believe the best approach is the team approach of dentist and often a special physical therapist. 

Neuromuscular dentists use instrumentes to measure jaw movements via Computerized Mandibular Scanning or CMS. Jaw Motion Analysis (JMA), electromyography (EMG), Electro-Sonography or ESG, and Joint Vibration Analysis or JVA help in identifying joint derangements. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator TENS can be used to relax jaw muscles to better examine jaw movements.

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