TMD/TMJ Dentist in Columbia, SC

Diagnosis & Treatment

Did you know that jaw pain and joint disorders can significantly impact your quality of life? At Washington Orthodontics, we understand the importance of addressing temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and temporomandibular disorder (TMD) issues to help you live pain-free.

As an esteemed provider of TMJ and TMD treatment in Columbia, SC, Washington Orthodontics is here to help restore comfort and function in your life. With our unparalleled expertise in handling these joint disorders, we’re committed to giving you the relief you deserve.

Temporomandibular joint dysfunction syndrome illustration

What Is TMJ and TMD?

Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)

The Temporomandibular Joint, also known as TMJ, is the pivotal hinge-like connection between your jawbone and the temporal bones found in your skull. This incredible joint system allows the lower jaw to execute a wide range of movements, such as biting, chewing, speaking, yawning, and much more.

However, when complications arise in this joint, it can lead to discomfort, functional issues, and a disorder often referred to as “TMJ,” despite the accurate term being Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD). 

Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

Temporomandibular disorders, often referred to as TMD is an umbrella term for a range of often complex disorders affecting the temporomandibular joint and the muscles surrounding it. These disorders are characterized by symptoms such as persistent jaw pain, difficulty moving the jaw, and accompanying neck and facial pain. TMD can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life by making everyday activities like talking, chewing, and even sleeping more challenging and discomforting.

For those suffering from such conditions, getting effective TMD treatment in Columbia, SC, can significantly enhance their quality of life. The right treatment streams can make everyday activities like talking, chewing, and even sleeping more manageable and less discomforting.

What Are the Signs of TMD?

Jaw Pain in Jaw Joints

One of the most evident signs of TMD is pain in the jaw joints. This pain often intensifies when the jaw muscles are utilized for actions such as chewing or speaking. The discomfort can be a persistent dull ache or sharp, sudden pain.

Neck Pain, Shoulder Pain, and Facial Pain

TMD can lead to pain that extends beyond the jaw. You may experience discomfort or stiffness in the neck, shoulder, or face, often amplified during physical exertion or periods of stress. Shoulder pain is particularly common among many TMD sufferers.

Ear Pain and Frequent Headaches

Patients with TMD often report discomfort in the ear, such as grating sounds or a ringing sensation, sometimes mistaken for an ear infection. Additionally, frequent or severe headaches, closely resembling migraines are common due to the interconnectedness of facial nerves and jaw muscles.

Muscle Tension, Muscle Spasms and Spasms

The discomfort caused by TMJ disorders can lead to increased muscle tension in the jaw muscles, not only in the jaw joints but also in related surrounding muscles, resulting in muscle spasms. This tension can make the jaw feel tight and lead to difficulties in opening or closing the mouth.

Issues Opening or Closing Mouth and Dental Restorations

Dysfunctions in the TMJ can restrict the range of movement in the jaw joints, leading to challenges when trying to open or close the mouth fully. Eating, yawning, and talking become increasingly difficult and discomforting. Dental restorations can help bring the jaw into the correct position, easing many of these challenges.

What Causes TMD?

Teeth Grinding or Clenching

This is a common cause of TMD. Anxiety, stress, or sleep disorders can result in habitual teeth grinding or clenching, which places immense pressure on the temporomandibular joints, leading to TMD.

Trauma or Injury

An accident or blow to the face can harm the jaw, temporomandibular joint, or muscles of the head and neck, thus causing TMD.


Like any other joint, the temporomandibular joint can be affected by different types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. These conditions lead to pain and dysfunction, which are symptoms of TMD.

Jaw Alignment Issues

If the jaw isn't properly aligned, it can put pressure on the temporomandibular joint, causing TMD. For example, an overbite or underbite can affect the way the jaw works, causing issues over time.

Dental Surgery

Certain dental procedures that require the mouth to be wide open for extended periods can stretch the jaw joint and muscles, possibly leading to TMD.

Muscle Strain or Spasms

Overworking or straining the facial and jaw muscles too much, with activities like excessive gum chewing or finger biting, or even yawning too widely, can lead to muscle spasms and ultimately cause TMD.

Disease or Health Conditions

Certain health conditions like fibromyalgia and gout can affect multiple joints in the body, including the temporomandibular joints.

Our TMJ treatment at Washington Orthodontics

Oral Appliances

Our TMJ dentist in Columbia, SC, often recommends oral appliances such as mouthguards or night guards for TMD patients. These devices can serve dual purposes: They prevent teeth grinding, which is often a contributing factor to TMD, and they help position the jaw in a more comfortable and ideal state. Regular use of these appliances, especially overnight, can gradually alleviate jaw pain and tension, leading to improved function and comfort.


The use of anti-inflammatory medications can often help manage the pain and reduce inflammation associated with TMD. Pain relievers and muscle relaxants may be recommended for short-term relief. These medicines, administered in correct dosages, can significantly improve the patient’s comfort and aid in the overall treatment process.

Surgical Treatments

In severe cases where conservative treatments fail to offer relief, certain surgical procedures may be considered by our TMJ specialist in Columbia, SC. These could include arthroscopy or open-joint surgery aimed at rectifying structural problems within the joint itself. It’s important to note that surgery is typically the last resort, only considered after all other avenues of treatment have been explored.

Why Choose Washington Orthodontics for Your TMD Treatment?

Experienced Professionals

Washington Orthodontics is home to skilled and proficient TMJ dentists who bring years of experience treating TMJ/TMD issues, curing chronic headaches, and promoting better oral health. Our professionals have in-depth knowledge and understanding of the complex jaw joint structures, ensuring each patient's condition is accurately assessed, diagnosed, and treated.

Personalized Approach

We understand that no two patients are the same; hence, we prioritize designing personalized treatment plans that cater to each patient's specific needs and circumstances. This approach involves a combination of various treatments, such as physical therapy, pain relievers, muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories, providing maximum rest, and even the use of mouth guards for optimal recovery.

Cutting-Edge Technology

We leverage the latest technology and innovative practices in our diagnosis and treatment procedures. This allows us to provide more effective, comfortable, and quicker solutions for pain relief, even in complicated cases like a heavy blow to the jaw. This leads to better oral health, a more comfortable bite, and improved patient experiences.

Patient-Centric Care

At Washington Orthodontics, we prioritize your well-being and comfort. Our team always takes the time to explain diagnoses, additional treatments, treatment plans, and procedures, ensuring our patients are well-informed and comfortable throughout their journey toward better oral health.

Trustworthy Reputation

Our reputation as a leading TMD treatment provider in Columbia, SC, is built upon years of successful treatments, additional treatment implementations, and satisfied patients. We are committed to delivering high-quality care with the utmost professionalism, ensuring you get the optimal treatment plan and the relief you deserve.

Get Relief From Jaw Pain: Schedule Your TMJ/TMD Consultation Today

At Washington Orthodontics, we prioritize your well-being by providing comprehensive TMJ and TMD treatment in Columbia, SC. Our office is open and ready to assist you with personalized care and practical solutions.

Don’t let jaw pain hold you back—contact Washington Orthodontics to experience expert care tailored to your needs.

Contact us today to book an appointment!

TMD/TMJ Treatment