What Are the Treatment Options for TMJ?

Getting assessed by a dental professional

There are several treatment options available for TMJ, but first of all it’s necessary to get your condition thoroughly assessed by a dentist experienced in dealing with temporomandibular joint problems.  They might wish to do a CT scan or an MRI in order to see exactly what is happening to your temporomandibular joint.  The majority of treatments for TMJ are quite simple and can be done at home, and very few will require surgery.  Your dentist will be able to prescribe a course of treatment for you based on the condition of your temporomandibular joint and the way your teeth meet together.  This will help you manage this condition but it’s also important to keep up with your regular dental checkups.

Wearing a mouth guard

One of the most traditional treatments for TMJ is to wear a mouth guard or splint.  This will help alleviate the stress on the temporomandibular joint and should help to ease the pain.  Using a mouth guard will allow the muscles in the jaw to function normally again and will enable the lower jaw to be repositioned correctly.

These mouth guards are usually constructed by your dentist and are designed according to their clinical assessment of your particular case, and this will be based on any diagnostic tests and x-rays they have completed and your symptoms.

Adjusting your bite

If your TMJ is caused by your teeth meeting together incorrectly then it may be necessary for your dentist to adjust the biting surfaces of your teeth so that the jaws can close together correctly.

Washing out the temporomandibular joint

This is performed under local anesthetic and uses two needles to wash out the joint, with one being filled with the cleaning solution while the other is used to remove the fluid.  It can be done in your doctor’s office and can give considerable pain relief.

Cortisone injections

Injecting cortisone can also be helpful in dealing with inflammation and pain around the temporomandibular joint

Using relaxation exercises

TMJ is quite often exacerbated by stress, and using relaxation exercises and stress-reduction techniques can be useful.  Some people also find it helpful to do some simple stretching exercises to relax the facial muscles.

Taking anti-inflammatory pain medication

Taking anti-inflammatory painkillers such as aspirin or ibuprofen can help ease the pain.

Using warm compresses

Applying warm compresses to the painful area can help to ease TMJ.  They can be applied for 20 minutes or so, and it may be helpful to do this before attempting any relaxation exercises as the muscles will be thoroughly warmed.

Resting the jaw

Resting the jaw can help it to heal, and this can include eating soft foods that don’t require excessive chewing.  Chewing gum and hard foods should be avoided and you should try not to open your mouth too wide.

It may be that something as simple as wearing a mouth guard will successfully manage TMJ, while other cases may need a combination of treatments.  It’s most unlikely that surgery will be necessary, but in severe cases the joints can be replaced with artificial implants.

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