TMJ Specialist

Allena Willis, DMD -  - Orthodontist

Smashing Smiles Orthodontics

Allena Willis, DMD

Orthodontist located in Washington, DC

If you’re experiencing jaw pain and headaches and having trouble opening your mouth wide, you may have TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder. Dr. Allena Willis Kennerly of Smashing Smiles Orthodontics offers relief with orthodontic TMJ treatments in her state-of-the-art office in Washington, D.C. Call the office today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Willis or book online.


What is TMJ?

TMJ is a shorthand way of referring to pain in your temporomandibular joint, which connects your jawbone to the sides of your skull. Your temporomandibular joint is solely responsible for your jaw movement from side to side, as well its ability to open and close.

When there’s a problem with the temporomandibular joint, you may experience trouble speaking. The condition is commonly called TMJ or TMD, temporomandibular disorder.

What causes TMJ?

The exact cause of TMJ is unclear, but evidence shows that it’s closely associated with teeth clenching or grinding, knotted face muscles, and misaligned jawbones. Arthritis in your temporomandibular joint can also trigger TMJ symptoms.

What are the symptoms of TMJ?

Commonly reported symptoms of TMJ are:

  • Frequent headaches
  • Earaches
  • Clicking noise when you open your jaw
  • Inability to open your mouth (lockjaw)
  • Trouble chewing
  • Aching pain in your jaw
  • Face pain or swelling

If you suspect that you have TMJ, see Dr. Willis for a thorough evaluation.

How is TMJ diagnosed?

Because the exact cause of TMJ is unknown, it’s tricky to diagnose because the symptoms can mimic other conditions. To get an accurate diagnosis, Dr. Willis conducts a physical examination, takes X-rays of your jaw, and in some cases performs a TMJ arthroscopy, a minimally invasive surgical video procedure.

How is TMJ treated?

Occasionally, TMJ resolves on its own, but that is rare. If you’ve been diagnosed with TMJ, Dr. Willis and her expert team may recommend a combination of the following treatment options:

  • Muscle relaxants
  • Mouthguards
  • TMJ prosthesis
  • Pain relievers
  • Physical therapy
  • Orthodontic surgery
  • Medical marijuana

In addition, there are some at-home remedies that can soothe your pain. Many people have success with the following:

  • Applying hot or cold compresses
  • Avoiding hard foods
  • Chewing on both sides of the mouth
  • Stretching the joint with mouth and jaw exercises
  • Practicing good posture

Talk to the team at Smashing Smiles about ways you can relieve pain and pressure due to TMJ.

Put an end to your TMJ suffering and pain. Schedule a consultation with Dr. Willis or use the easy online scheduler to make an appointment at your convenience.