TMJ Treatment Options for Alleviating Your Discomfort


There are several types of TMJ treatments, however, TMJ is not the easiest disorder to diagnose, especially when people are at home and find themselves in pain. When you have typical symptoms that include popping of the jaw or difficulty opening your mouth, you should see a dentist so that we can help you to diagnose TMJ. It can take the experience of a professional to connect your symptoms to TMJ. This is because the disorder can manifest itself in a variety of different ways, including things that would not normally be associated with temporomandibular pain. These symptoms can include random tooth pain, aches in the neck, and even an ongoing headache. People who suffer from reoccurring migraine headaches have also been diagnosed with TMJ, so there really is no single set of diagnosis that can point to a patient having TMJ.
Similarly, treating TMJ has a variety of different methodologies, requiring a step by step approach. The simplest treatment involves an exercise that causes relief from the symptoms. Some also find relief with gentle message. In our dental office, we find the greatest success in treating TMJ with a removable oral appliance.  We create these appliances out of plastic after an impression has been taken of the mouth.  They look like a full retainer and when worn, prevent the upper and lower teeth from touching.  This eliminates nighttime grinding and clenching, thereby preventing a common trigger for TMJ.  As a result, symptoms are often reduced or eliminated.
If this does not work, we may eventually suggest surgical remedies that may require a hospital stay and take several months to be effective. Given the intensity of these procedures, we always recommend this as the last resort after our non-invasive TMJ treatment has been tried.  There are several types of arthroplasty that is used to repair defects that lead to TMJ. These mostly are focused on the disc which can become damaged or move out of place, leading to the severe pain.
Surgeries involving joints have become relatively commonplace in America today. Many people choose to have their knees surgically repaired or even have hips replaced when they are no longer able to treat these joints with physical therapy or other means. Similarly, if non-invasive options, for treating your TMJ, haven’t worked, we will consider arthroscopic surgery to correct the problem. Using arthroscopic surgery means there will be virtually no scarring from a minimalistic incision.
The first surgery that may be proposed is a disc repositioning surgery, which moves a slipped disc back to its original position. A slipped disc can cause severe TMJ because when the disc slips it puts a lot of pressure and pinches the nerves that are connected to the temporomandibular joint. This brief surgical procedure can relieve the pressure by moving the disc off the nerves and take away the symptoms of TMJ. If this does not work then there is a second, more invasive procedure that can be performed.  Still, we always recommend starting with an oral appliance as the non-invasive TMJ treatment option.

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