What Are the Treatments for TMJ?
Are you suffering from TMJ pain? Talk to our team of leading healthcare professionals today at Koala® Center For Sleep & TMJ Disorders about TMJ. For more information call us at one of our clinics today or request an appointment online. We serve patients from all over the USA. Locations in Bloomington IL, Peoria – Dunlap IL, Mishawaka IN, Kansas City MO, El Paso TX, and Wausau WI.
What is TMJ?
TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that connects your jawbone and skull together by acting as a sliding hinge. Each side of your jaw has one of these joints. TMJ is often used in reference to a disorder of the joint, a TMJ disorder or TMD, that causes pain in the joints of the jaw as well as in the muscles surrounding it that control the jaw’s movement.
There are many factors that can lead to a TMJ disorder and it can be difficult to determine what the exact cause is for each individual case. Genetics, arthritis, or an injury to the jaw can all contribute to a TMJ disorder. In some cases, it can be a result of clenching the jaw and teeth or grinding the teeth together, known as bruxism), however, there are also people who regularly clench their jaw or grind their teeth and never develop a TMJ disorder. TMJ disorders can also occur when any part of the joint prevents the normal movement of the jaw from functioning properly, causing pain in the jaw.
This can happen if the cartilage in the joint is damaged due to arthritis, a blow or other impact causes damage to the joint, or the shock-absorbing disk in the jaw erodes or shifts out of the proper alignment for smooth movement.
What are the treatments for TMJ?
Sometimes TMJ symptoms can resolve on its own and no treatment is required. In other cases, individuals experience persistent symptoms that require medical attention. There are many treatment options available which can include medications, therapies, surgery, or other procedures. Surgery is typically a last resort so your doctor will try all other options before exploring surgical options.
Pain caused by TMJ disorders can be treated through the use of medications such as pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, either over the counter or through a prescription for a short time, tricyclic antidepressants can be used in low doses for pain relief, sleeplessness, and control of bruxism, or muscle relaxants where muscle spasms are causing the pain of a TMJ disorder. Non-medication therapies include a mouth guard or oral splint placed over the teeth, physical therapy to strengthen and stretch the jaw muscles, and counseling to help you understand behaviors that may be causing jaw pain such as teeth grinding, nail-biting, and leaning on your chin. If none of those options help, your doctor may go for a more drastic treatment such as corticosteroid injections, arthrocentesis, TMJ arthroscopy, modified condylotomy, or open-joint surgery.
When to see a doctor for TMJ?
TMJ can be a painful condition, however, it often resolves itself for one reason or another. Other times individuals will need to seek out medical attention to help them with the pain and find the source of the issue. If you are experiencing persistent pain or tenderness in the joints of your jaw or if you aren’t able to completely open or close your jaw, it is a good idea to see a doctor. Your first step is to see your doctor or dentist as either one can help to diagnose a TMJ disorder. Some of them may be able to diagnose and treat the condition themselves if they have received the proper training in TMJ disorders, or they may refer you to a TMJ specialist. A TMJ specialist focuses on treating TMJ disorders and providing treatment using a number of different options depending on the severity of your pain and the potential source of the issue.
No matter the medical professional you see for your concern, they will work through a series of treatment options to help you find relief from the pain of TMJ through medication or therapies. In the majority of cases, non-surgical treatment is successful in relieving pain and symptoms of a TMJ disorder. Koala® Center For Sleep & TMJ Disorders and our team of leading healthcare professionals offer a number of treatments for TMJ disorders, so contact us through our website. We care about your health, and we want you to help you live a pain-free life.