The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your jawbone to your skull. These joints are located on each side of your head, in front of your ears. TMJ disorders are commonly painful disorders affecting the joint and jaw muscles. To resolve these problems, you need proper TMJ treatment.
What Causes TMJ Disorder?
Although TMJ pain varies from person to person, scientists have yet to pinpoint what causes TMJ disorders. According to the National Institute of Health, since TMJ disorder is more common in women, medical experts are examining a potential link between TMJ ailments and females.
Likewise, your genetics, arthritis or injury to the jaw affect pain development. Some people grind their teeth at night or clench their jaw, leading to TMJ pain. However, most cases of TMJ pain are temporary and don’t require surgery, but rather simple TMJ treatment. Some of these procedures are self-care oriented, while your dentist provides others. Lastly, when all else fails, a medical operation is your final option to treat TMJ disorder.
Warning Signs You Need TMJ Treatment
An array of symptoms may arise when suffering from a TMJ disorder. Discomfort and pain in the jaw joint area are among the most common symptoms of TMJ disorder.
Other symptoms include:
- Jaw pain and tenderness
- Aching in your face
- Pain in one or both of your jaw joints
- Ear aching inside and around the ear canal
- Pain or difficulty in chewing
- Joint clicking or locking of the joint, making opening your mouth difficult
If you have no pain and your movement is not limited but your jaw clicks, you probably do not need TMJ treatment.
Ongoing pain or tenderness anywhere in your mouth or jaw is a reason to see your dentist. This includes TMJ pain or an inability to open or close your jaw all the way. Your dentist will examine your jaw and how it works, determine the reason for your pain and discuss possible treatments with you.
4 Types of TMJ Treatment
TMJ disorders often go away on their own. But if your problem remains, your dentist considers which treatment methods best suit your needs. Here are five types of TMJ Treatment methods.
There are multiple medications that can help you relieve your pain, in addition to other treatment methods for your TMJ. Medications include pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Other medications include, tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, sometimes used for pain relief. Muscle relaxants help relieve some TMJ pain.
2. Non-Drug Therapies
Oral splints and mouth guards are two devices used to help TMJ disorder pain, although why this works is not fully understood. Physical therapy is also helpful, such as stretching and strengthening exercises, ultrasound, ice and moist heat therapies.
Counseling provides understanding as to what causes or aggravates your pain, such as teeth clenching, grinding of teeth, leaning on your chin or biting your fingernails.
4. Surgical Methods
There are multiple surgeries and other methods for your dentist to relieve your TMJ disorder pain. These include insertion of small needles into your jaw joint for fluid irrigation, injections of botulinum toxin type A (such as Botox), TMJ arthroscopic surgery and mandible surgery. Open-joint surgery repairs or replaces the joint when other treatment methods fail, although this is risky.
Deciding on the Best TMJ Treatment
Laughlin Dental in Pasadena, Texas provides families from Houston, Pasadena, Deer Park, Pearland, and surrounding areas with family dental care. Our broad range of dental services include:
- Family dentistry
- Invisalign and Lumineers
- General dentistry
- Restorative dentistry
- TMJ treatment and other conditions
Dr. Lloyd Laughlin and the caring dental team at Laughlin Dental have the expertise and compassion to care for your family’s healthiest smiles. Everyone in the family gains dental care in the same location, providing convenience and less time away from your daily routine.
For your TMJ disorder consultation or first appointment for a dental checkup, call Laughlin Dental now at (281) 864-0996.