Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders affect jaw joints and surrounding muscles and ligaments. They can be caused by teeth clenching or grinding, arthritis, disc dislocation between the ball and socket joint, stress, acute trauma, or an improper bite. Common symptoms of TMJ dysfunction include jaw pain, headaches, earaches, trouble opening your mouth wide, difficulty chewing, and tooth pain. You may also experience swelling on the side of your face, locked jaws, and clicking or popping sounds in your jaw joint when opening or closing your mouth. Depending on the symptoms and severity of your TMJ disorder, your doctor can recommend medications, splints, mouth guards, TENS, trigger point injections, Botox, or surgery. Here are some effective ways to treat TMJ disorders offered by Barry Chase DDS.
Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, or naproxen can help alleviate pain and swelling. If you grind or clench your teeth, your doctor can prescribe muscle relaxants to help relax tight jaw muscles. Your provider can also prescribe higher doses of NSAIDs or narcotic analgesics to relieve jaw pain.
Night mouth guards and splints
Splints and mouth guards are dental appliances that you fit over your teeth to provide stable tooth contacts during closure. They are helpful if you grind or clench your teeth. Mouthguards correct your bite by placing your jaw in a better position. Splints are worn full-time, while mouth guards are only worn at night. The type of dental appliance your doctor recommends depends on your symptoms.
If conservative treatments are not effective, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following therapies:
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): This treatment option involves the use of low-level electric currents to relax your jaw joint and facial muscles to give relief from pain.
Trigger-point injections: This therapy is where your doctor administers pain medicines or anesthetics into the tender muscles of your face to help alleviate pain.
Botox injections: Your doctor can use Botox injections to reduce muscle mass and inflammation.
TMJ surgery can be useful if other treatments are ineffective. Depending on your TMJ symptoms and the complexity of your condition, your doctor can recommend any of the following surgeries:
Arthrocentesis involves your doctor inserting needles filled with sterile fluids into the affected joints to wash them out. If you have scar tissue or a disc that has moved out of place, the doctor will remove it. Doctors usually recommend the procedure if your jaw locks suddenly in the closed position. It can also help ease TMJ inflammation.
Arthroscopy involves your doctor making a small incision in front of your ear and inserting a tiny, thin device containing a lens and light. The device is hooked to a video monitor that allows your specialist to examine your TMJ and the surrounding region. The specialist corrects any defect, including removing inflamed tissue or realigning the disc.
Schedule an appointment at Chase Dental Sleepcare for TMJ disorders treatments to relieve your jaw pain.