TMJ – temporomandibular joint disorder – can be excruciating to live with. It can lead to pain in your jawbone and the muscles that control your jaw. The temporomandibular joint serves as a pair of sliding hinges that connect your jaw to your skull on both sides. Problems with either lead to difficulty moving your jaw, thus compromising any activity that requires the use of your jawbone or jaw muscles.
Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
Tenderness/pain in the jaw
Pain from either temporomandibular joints or both
Pain in your ear
Aching facial muscles
Difficulty opening or closing your mouth
Fortunately, your dentist has many options to help you alleviate these symptoms. These treatments are broken down into three sections: medication, therapy, and surgery.
We can combine medications with therapeutic or surgical treatments. These medicines help to reduce the pain that comes with TMJ disorders.
A. Anti-inflammatory and pain relievers
When OTC medication is not enough to help manage the pain that comes with TMJ, your dentist will prescribe something stronger. Non-steroid, anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen are a common aid to temporarily relieving some pain.
B. Tricyclic antidepressants
Medications that were common for combating depression can now act as pain relievers for TMJ patients. It is important to speak with a professional in order to determine which is right for you.
C. Muscle relaxants
Medications like these often take weeks to kick in, but they are effectively used to help temporomandibular joint disorder patients deal with pain.
2. Therapeutic treatments
There are treatment options available to those dealing with TMJ issues that do not require the use of drugs. These include:
A. Mouth guards and splints
People with temporomandibular joint pain often report reduced pain when wearing a soft, firm device like a mouth guard over their teeth.
B. Physical therapy
Extreme temperatures and ultrasound waves can be used to address TMJ. This external simulation is typically coupled with exercises that strengthen and stretch the jaw muscles.
Patients can reduce the discomfort associated with the temporomandibular joint disorder by understanding the behaviors and factors that aggravate your condition. Habits, like grinding your teeth or leaning on your chin, will only make your condition worse. The education will help you avoid things that make your condition worse.
3. Surgical and other treatments
When your dentist has exhausted other options, surgical solutions are next on the list. Here are the most commonly recommended treatments:
This is a relatively straightforward process that involves the insertion of small needles into your jaw joints to remove debris and other by-products that are causing the inflammation.
Your dentist might recommend corticosteroid injections to deal with your TMJ. Botox injections can also occasionally help alleviate jaw bone pain.
C. TMJ arthroscopy
This can be as effective as open-joint surgery when it comes to treating TMJ disorders. During this procedure, we place a thin tube into your jaw joints and use miniature surgical tools for surgery. This procedure is less intrusive than open-joint surgery, but it does come with some limitations.
D. Open-joint surgery
Open-joint surgery is a last resort option for when all other methods fail. While it will allow a dentist to deal with some of the issues that TMJ presents, there are also risks with surgery.
Why does this all matter?
Dealing with jaw pain? Contact a dentist to find out more about common TMJ treatments.
Request a dental appointment here: https://www.mfgrassodds.com or call Michael F. Grasso DDS at (636) 660-0490 for an appointment in our Chesterfield dental office.
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