About TMJ Treatment
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is vulnerable to develop anomalies. Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) forms the common term used for various problems related to face and jaw muscles. The most common reason of such conditions is bruxism. Bruxism refers to the excessive jaw clenching or grinding of teeth. Bruxism is usually harmful, but if teeth grinding is consistent, it creates significant complications. If you are also indulged in the habit of grinding teeth or it is due to certain conditions, then it is likely that you may develop TMJ. Our doctors offer effective dental services in Leesburg regarding prevention and control of TMJ.
TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. It forms a part of the bruxism and may lead to developing TMJ disorders. Bruxism is not the only cause of TMJ, but it also occurs due to certain jaw injuries or diseases like arthritis. Bruxism, however, remains the major reason for TMJ disorders. The symptoms include soreness near the ear, aches in jawline and face, jaw tenderness, painful sensations when you lock the joint or it feels difficult to open or close the mouth, and feeling of pain while chewing.
What’s TMJ Treatment?
Most of the time, the symptoms of TMJ do not require any particular treatment. However, if you think that the symptoms persist, then you must consult with a dentist. Options for treating TMJ are more than one. Medications form one particular option that can help relieve your pain. The medications given can be of different types. Anti-inflammatories and pain relievers are used to relieve TMJ pain. The dentist may prescribe stronger pain relievers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs, mainstay treatment, and ibuprofen). Muscle relaxants are also used to treat TMJ. Patients are suggested to use these drugs for a few days or weeks to relieve the pain.
The other mode of treatment is through therapies. This is the non-drug method to treat TMJ disorders and includes a variety of procedures. Occlusal appliances are often used for people complaining of jaw pain. They are provided with a soft device which they gain benefit from through inserting them over their teeth. Treatments for physical therapy include ultrasound, ice, and moist heat. The condition is improved through prescribing different exercises to strengthen jaw muscles. Counseling forms another method that is specifically provided to help patients. Counseling makes you understand the different symptoms and factors responsible for aggravating pain and other behavioral issues. This mode of treatment is adapted to enable you to avoid such issues. For instance, the act of teeth clenching or grinding, fingernail biting, and leaning on the chin may increase pain.
There have also been surgical methods prescribed in serious cases. There are a variety of surgical procedures for TMJ patients. Arthrocentesis forms a procedure that is only minimally invasive. Small needles are inserted into the joint to irrigate the fluid for removing debris and the inflammatory byproducts. Injections are also given to certain patients. Corticosteroid injections are also inserted into the jaw muscles. Injections of Botox are also given to relieve TMJ associated disorders. Surgery is also done, but only in severe cases. The surgery is arthroscopic and is used to treat the different types of TMJ disorders; the surgery is done as open-joint surgery. Surgical processes are accompanied with complications and risks.
Another method of treatment is the modified condylotomy. This forms an indirect surgery since the mandible is treated and not the joint itself. If the pain persists and is not relieved with the above-mentioned treatments, then this indicates a serious structural problem in the joint. In this case, an open-joint surgery is performed to replace or repair the joint. Though it forms a risky process as compared to the other procedures, the process is carried with deliberate care.
TMJ refers to a group of conditions related to pain and dysfunction of the muscles and jaw joint responsible for controlling the jaw movement. The disease is very common and probably a number people carry risks of TMJ. As a TMJ patient, you may experience a number of symptoms like pain in the jaw joint areas and chewing muscles; this forms the most common symptom. The other common symptoms include pain in the neck, face, and jaw, the stiffness of the jaw muscles, pain in jaw locking or limited movement, painful grating or popping in the jaw joint as the person opens and closes the mouth, and loss of comfort as the upper and the lower teeth fit together.
Does TMJ Go Away?
The majority of people do not pay attention towards pain in jaw or muscles and consider it only a passive issue. The TMJ related pain may be temporary and occasional occurring in events or cycles. Most of the time, the TMJ related discomfort goes away by the simple step of treatment. However, the treatment must be provided based on diagnosis. Patients are evaluated based on their special needs. Treatments vulnerable to create permanent jaw changes are avoided. It is possible that long-term symptoms will get developed. TMJ can go away if proper care and treatment are provided along with deliberate control of personal habits. It takes usually less than a month to alleviate some symptoms. However, if the case involves arthritis or severe bruxism, it may take a significantly longer time.
When TMJ is Serious
Most of the time, TMJ is not serious. The symptoms and pain can be mitigated with effective treatment and care plan. It, however, forms a serious condition if the underlying reason of causation is physical. For instance, if TMJ results due to misalignment of bite or damage to the jaw joint. When this is the case, surgery and dental procedures remain the preferable process to mitigate the condition. It is highly recommended that you must consider preventive dentistry to avoid development of such problems.
Schedule Your Next Appointment Today
You must not hesitate or waste your time and must promptly contact us at our family dental clinic in Leesburg. It is not a wise decision to delay a visit to the dentist and prolong the duration of pain. If you feel you have been developing TMJ/TMD symptoms then call us at 703-779-2296. You may reserve a visit or counseling session with us through filling out the online contact form available at the Contact Us page. In case of emergency, you may directly visit our dental office at 2 Cardinal Park Drive, Suite 204A Leesburg, VA 20175 where we are always ready to help our patients.