TMJ Symptoms and Treatment

Have you ever experienced jaw pain while chewing?  Or maybe sometimes you hear a clicking or popping sound from your jaw.  You may be experiencing TMD jaw pain or TMJ symptoms.    Since the TMJ enables movement both up and down and from side to side, it is an extremely complex joint in the body. This is what makes severe TMJ disorders difficult to treat effectively.

Symptoms

Before moving onto treatment, you will need to be diagnosed with a TMJ disorder. There are a number of symptoms which are indicative of this disorder:

  • Persistent jaw pain
  • Restricted jaw movement
  • Sounds like clicking or popping that occur while talking or eating
  • Buzzing or ringing in the ear
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Stiff or sore muscles

Treatment

There are home remedies for TMJ  jaw pain such as ice packs to the joint for this problem. Massages or gentle stretches of the jaw also help. There are, however, other more particular ways of treating TMJ disorders.

1.     Therapies

Other therapies for TMJ disorders are:

  • Over The Counter Mouth Guards or Oral Splints: Some people with jaw pain have benefited by wearing these appliances, but the relief is generally short term.
  • Oral Appliance Therapy: You and your appliance are monitored by your Sleep Dentist or Sleep Specialist and your treatment is adjusted accordingly as needed to improve your condition.
  • VIVOS:  Is the brand name for an oral device which uses Epigenetic orthodontics to modify, change or attenuate the physical location of natural teeth, jaws, and airway. In regular people talk, this means that this particular oral appliance claims that it can reconstruct your bone structure which can then cure these types of problems including sleep apnea.  Always consult with your sleep specialist or sleep dentist, they can determine if this device is appropriate for your specific condition.
  • Counseling: Counseling and education can help you identify what habits worsen your pain, such as teeth grinding, clenching, and biting fingernails so you can avoid them in the future.
  • Physical Therapy: Exercises to strengthen and stretch the jaw, along with treatments like ultrasound, moist heat, and ice, etc.
Close-up Shot Of Dental Impression With Implant

2. Medications

These medications could help relieve TMJ jaw pain:

  • Pain killers and anti-inflammatories: Sometimes, common pain medications don’t work well enough so you may be prescribed stronger pain relievers like prescription strength ibuprofen.
  • Muscle relaxants: These are used for a while to lessen the pain caused due to muscle spasms.
  • Tricyclic antidepressants: These medications are sometimes used in low doses to relieve pain and sleeplessness.

3. Other Procedures

In extreme cases, your doctor might recommend procedures including:

  • Corticosteroid Injections The TMJ Association believes that “There is just too little science evaluating short and long term efficacy.” of this treatment. There are risks with steroid injections, with the potential for damage to cartilage and fibrous tissue.
  • Arthrocentesis this procedure is a minimally invasive procedure which involves small needles being inserted into the joint to remove inflammatory byproducts and debris.
  • Modified Condylotomy.This is surgery on the mandible, but not in the joint itself. It may be helpful for treating pain and jaw lock.
  • TMJ Arthroscopy places a small thin tube (cannula) is put into the joint space, after which an arthroscope is inserted and surgery is performed with small surgical instruments. TMJ arthroscopy is less complicated and has fewer risks than open-joint surgery but it also has some limitations.
  • Open-joint surgery. Your dentist or doctor may recommend open-joint surgery (arthrotomy) to replace or repair the joint if it doesn’t respond to other treatments.

As with any medical issue, you should have a conversation with your doctor to discuss your treatment plan.

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