Problems with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can cause major pain that can be difficult to cure because the cause of the pain varies from person to person. Fortunately, there are options for those seeking TMJ treatment. A good dentist can help you identify the source of the pain and recommend treatment based on your specific situation.
These are some of the most common options for TMJ treatment.
In a lot of cases, TMJ pain seems to be related to tightening of the muscles in the jaw. Sometimes, this occurs while sleeping. Often, it’s related to stress. An over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or naproxen can help. Your dentist can prescribe even higher dosages of these medications or stronger muscle relaxants.
Some people who suffer from jaw pain also benefit from taking tricyclic antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. Ask your dentist or primary care physician to see if this is an option that's right for you.
Mouth Guards and Splints
If the TMJ pain is related to tooth grinding or clenching the teeth at night, a mouth guard or splint could be the right solution for you. These prevent you from clenching down on your teeth while sleeping, and most people find them fairly comfortable after a brief adjustment period. Mouth guards are available over-the-counter, but having a dentist create a mouth guard or splint based off of impressions of your teeth often means a much better fit. This can make the solution more effective.
In the past, dentists rarely recommended orthodontics unless you were unhappy with the way your smile looked. These days, we’re seeing that teeth that are even slightly out of place can cause health problems like TMJ disorder. If your dentist suspects that your TMJ disorder comes from an overbite, under bite, or strong bite in the back, he or she may recommend orthodontics. When you adjust the placement of teeth in the mouth, you can reduce pressure in the jaw.
In extreme cases, a dentist may recommend oral surgery as TMJ treatment. For instance, a procedure like arthrocentesis involves sticking a needle into the joint and draining fluid and debris that has gathered there. Some people require open joint surgery for major repairs or replacement. This type of surgery is typically done only after other methods have failed to alleviate the pain caused by TMJ.
Many people find relief through at-home remedies and alternative therapies. If you clench your teeth because you’re stressed, starting a meditation or yoga practice could relax your muscles and reduce your TMJ symptoms. Some people have found success using acupuncture or using exercises learned from a physical therapist. These may be even more effective when used in conjunction with more traditional TMJ treatment by a dentist.
You don’t have to continue to suffer from TMJ pain. The key to successful treatment is discovering the root cause of your problem. A qualified dentist from Buckhead Cosmetic and Family Dentistry will locate the likely causes and come up with solutions that will make you feel better. Call us today to set up your first appointment and discuss your TMJ treatment options.