A Dentist Explains What Types of Treatments Are Available for TMJ

Tmj Marietta, OH

Are you experiencing TMJ pain? Temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are located on either side of your face, just below your ears. They connect your lower jawbone to your skull and are used every time that you talk and chew. 

When these joints are overworked or injured, the joints and surrounding muscles can become inflamed and cause pain. Other factors, like arthritis or improper bite alignment, can also lead to problems known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Many people also refer to these disorders as TMJ, after the joint.

If you have a TMJ disorder, you may experience tenderness in the jaw, headaches, and earaches. Some patients also hear a clicking or popping sound in their jaw. Your dentist can diagnose temporomandibular disorders and recommend treatments to help your TMJ recover.

Common treatments for TMJ pain

Fortunately for people with TMJ, many treatments are conservative and non-invasive. Here are a few of the most common treatments that a dentist might recommend.

Eat soft foods

Since an overworked jaw can cause pain and tension to the temporomandibular joint, one common treatment is simply reducing jaw usage by eating soft, easy-to-eat foods like yogurt, smoothies, mashed potatoes, and soup. Soft foods enable the jaw time to rest and recover. Patients might be encouraged to avoid gum, caramel, and other chewy or crunchy foods that can cause extra wear and tear to the jaw. 

Reduce stress

Sometimes, TMJ disorders can develop as a result of stress. Massages, mindful meditation, and other stress-reducing activities can relax the jaw and reduce the clenching that causes pain. Some dentists might recommend gentle jaw exercises or stretches intended to ease tension.

Apply hot or cold packs

Applying moist heat or ice packs to the jaw for several minutes can reduce TMJ swelling and pain.

Wear jaw splints or bite guards

Some dentists will recommend a mouth guard worn at night for moderate TMJ symptoms to stabilize the jaw. Mouthguards can prevent tooth grinding, reduce clenching, and keep teeth properly aligned.

Dentists can recommend a mouthguard suited to a patient’s needs. Mouthguards can be made from hard plastic or soft, pliable material, depending on the patient’s bite alignment and the severity of their clenching, so it is vital to wear the right equipment.

Take medication

Over-the-counter medication for pain and swelling provides relief from temporomandibular disorders. Prescription painkillers can be prescribed for patients dealing with intense pain. 

Get jaw injections

If at-home treatments do not work, the dentist may recommend an injection to provide temporary TMJ relief. Injections are quick and minimally invasive. The most common injection options are either corticosteroid (a steroid hormone) or onabotulinumtoxinA injections.

Receive surgical corrections

Surgery is usually the last resort when it comes to TMJ disorders. If the patient does not respond to other at-home treatments, surgery can repair or reposition the temporomandibular joint. In extreme cases, the temporomandibular joints may be removed and replaced. 

Contact us for TMJ treatment

If you are experiencing jaw pain, headaches, earaches, or clicking in your jaw, you may have a temporomandibular disorder. You do not have to live with pain and discomfort, however. The team here at McCarthy Dentistry can analyze your situation and recommend treatment to help your TMJ improve. Get in touch today for a consultation!

Request an appointment here: https://www.mytotaldentistry.com or call McCarthy Dentistry at (740) 546-5178 for an appointment in our Marietta office.

Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: TMJ Dentist in Marietta, OH.

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