Eating, speaking, chewing gum: All these can suddenly become difficult if there is pain in the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ. Jaw pain can be worrisome, but before panicking, it is important to understand that most TMJ disorders improve with at-home care. Pain may resolve in a few days but can sometimes come back in cycles.…
How is TMJ Treated?
People who have TMJ, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, may only experience fairly mild symptoms. In some cases, these symptoms improve without assistance from a dentist or other medical professional. Yet a proactive patient who employs self-care practices in a basic home therapy regimen stands a much better chance of obtaining relief. Here is a look at the treatments available for TMJ.
Self-care Practices Really can Mitigate TMJ
Consuming soft foods, applying moist heat or ice to the jaw and taking care not to move the jaw in an extreme manner will help reduce TMJ symptoms. Anything from loud singing to yawning and the chewing of gum can aggravate TMJ. Refrain from engaging in these activities and you will find your TMJ proves that much less irritating.
Why a Conservative Treatment Approach is Ideal
The National Institutes of Health reports more studies are necessary to determine the most effective and safe treatments of jaw joint disorders and muscle disorders. It is beneficial to try any conservative approaches at first and gradually work up to riskier treatments. The prudence of this approach lies in the fact that such conservative treatments do not involve surgery.
Such reversible treatments will not cause any sort of permanent alteration in the position or structure of the teeth or jaw. Even if your TMJ disorder proves persistent, there is no need for an aggressive form of treatment. However, if a conservative treatment approach does not work and the condition worsens, it makes sense to ramp up the treatment with the assistance of your dentist.
You Have the Power to Treat TMJ
There is minimal scientific evidence that shows certain TMJ treatments are more effective than others. However, the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) suggests making lifestyle changes to mitigate the condition. The NIDCR recommends consuming soft foods instead of hard and/or sticky ones. The application of ice packs in a towel to the jaw will also help.
Some find relief from over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription pain medication. However, the use of such medications should not be prolonged. If your TMJ is especially painful, try such medications for a brief period of time. If the pain dissipates or if the medication does not relieve the pain, do not continue using it across an extended period of time.
The NIDCR also recommends avoiding treatments that cause permanent changes in the jaw or bite. This includes crown and bridges that balance the bite, orthodontics that alter bite and the grinding down of teeth to create the proper balance. Some find repositioning splints proves helpful.
Above all, patients with TMJ should avoid surgery. If you are considering surgery, obtain a professional opinion from your dentist so you completely understand the risks posed by such an operation.
Certain health providers recommend injections in the temporomandibular joint to reduce TMJ pain. However, it is not clear if injections for TMJ prove effective across posterity. Consult with us before trying this TMJ treatment method.
For more information or to schedule an appointment with Eastside Dental, request an appointment in our Milwaukee dental office here: https://www.drfrankgalka.com. Or call us at (414) 253-3241.
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