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TMJ Disorder

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woman exhibiting jaw pain

TMJ disorder is more than just an annoying popping sound that your jaw makes. Though some people find the problem is only temporary, others discover that their uncomfortable case of TMJ is so severe that medical intervention from Dr. Vigliante, Dr. Gocke or Dr. McAdams is required.

What is TMJ Disorder?

The TMJ, medically known as the temporomandibular joint, is a sliding hinge that connects your jawbone to your skull. You have two jawbone joints – one on the right side of your face and one on the left.

Some residents develop disorders of the TMJ, often resulting in popping sounds when one opens his or her mouth or pain and discomfort that just won’t go away.

For cases of TMJ disorder that require surgical solutions, Virginia Advanced Surgical Arts can help people in Metro DC communities.

TMJ Symptoms

You might have a TMJ disorder if you experience any or all the following symptoms:

Tenderness or pain in your jaw

Pain on one or both sides of your TMJ joints

Aching pain in and around your ear (when ear infection has been ruled out)

Finding it difficult or painful to chew food

Facial pain that aches

Finding that your jaw locks, making it difficult for you to open or close your mouth

When Does TMJ Disorder Need Medical

You may have felt and heard your jaw pop at one time or another. But if you’re experiencing any of the persistent pain listed above, it’s time to get a medical examination from our oral surgeons for a diagnosis and a personalized treatment plan.

Diagnosing TMJ Disorders

When you visit Virginia Advanced Surgical Arts to address continuing jaw pain and popping, our oral surgeons perform a full evaluation, including:

Listening to and feeling the way your jaw functions when you open and close your mouth

Visually observing the range of motion you have in your jaw

Pressing on areas of your jaw to pinpoint the exact areas where you experience pain and discomfort

In some cases, additional tests may be required, including:

Dental X-rays that show both your teeth and jawbone

A CT scan to show the details of the bones that make up the TMJ joint

An MRI if joint disc or surrounding tissue problems are suspected

What Are the Risk Factors for Developing a
TMJ Disorder?

Sometimes, it can feel like TMJ just came out of nowhere. Other times, they have experienced known causes including:

A diagnosis of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis

An injury that damaged or affected the jaw

A long history of clenching or grinding the teeth

A diagnosis of certain connective tissue diseases

How is a Serious Case of TMJ Treated?

Many patients are fortunate enough to have their case of TMJ go away on their own, while others will require medical intervention.

This can range from medications (such as pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxers), therapies (including oral splints, mouth guards, or physical therapy), and corrective jaw surgery in the most severe cases.

The exact course of treatment you’ll need can only be determined once you have a proper diagnosis and are under the care of Dr. Vigliante, Dr. Gocke and Dr. McAdams.

When Total Joint Replacement of the TMJ is

Some patients have such a severe case of TMJ disorder, they require a total joint replacement of the TMJ. This typically occurs in individuals who:

Have significant joint deterioration resulting from a traumatic injury

Have osteoarthritis, which has severely affected the TMJ joint

Have experienced some other form of serious, irreparable damage to the joint

This surgery, which replaces the joint with a prosthetic, is intensive, and typically requires an overnight stay in the hospital, 2-3 weeks at home recovery period, and, in some cases, wiring the mouth shut during the healing process.

But it’s worthwhile. Studies have shown that the total joint replacement of the TMJ surgery is very successful. Even 10 years post-op, many patients exhibit significant improvements in:

Range of motion of the mouth



Reduced pain achieved and maintained around 6 months post-op

Getting the Help You Need

If you live in the Metro DC area and are experiencing persistent pain in your jaw, there’s no reason to grin and bear it. Visit the TMJ treatment specialists at Virginia Advanced Surgical Arts to determine if you have TMJ, and if so, what treatment options are appropriate for your case.

You can schedule an appointment today by calling Virginia Advanced Surgical Arts’ McLean office at (703) 388-2805, Reston office at (571) 595-3223, or Leesburg office at (703) 723-5366.

Meet Doctor

Craig Vigliante, MD, DMD

Dr. Vigliante became interested in oral surgery after having double jaw surgery for his open bite. Since then, he’s dedicated himself to showing his patients the highest level of care possible. He’s certified by the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons and holds medical and dental licenses in Virginia. 

What Our Patients Say


“I felt welcomed and valued from the second I walked in the door to the moment I left. Every person I interacted with- from the front desk staff, to the surgical assistants, and even the doctor himself- was kind, informative, and helpful. I had my wisdom teeth removed on Friday and was back to work with only a mild and easily manageable headache on Monday. They gave clear instructions on how to prevent infection and dry socket, and even called to check up on me the day of and week after my procedure! I strongly recommend this office to anyone who is searching for the services they offer.

Jacquelyn Candito


“Everyone was super nice, friendly, and courteous. The office is clean and modern. Everyone was professional and seemed pretty organized. I got to watch Netflix laying down while I waited as well. The staff was nice enough to even switch it to a show I recommended!! Also, there are snacks and drinks available for your drivers waiting on you. As someone who is wary of going to the dentist, it was a great experience and I’d recommend this place! Cute valentines day decorations when I was there too!”

Amy Vu

Experienced Oral Surgeons Serving the DC Metro Area


Dr. Vigliante, Dr. Gocke and Dr. McAdams are board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeons thoroughly qualified to perform complex restorative surgical procedures, no matter the circumstance, for patients in Northern Virginia and Maryland. Their experience and training have given them an unmatched skill set balanced between art and science. You can be confident in choosing Virginia Advanced Surgical Arts for your oral surgery needs.