How To Manage TMJ/TMD
Patients often ask us about finding long term solutions to the facial pain, difficulty chewing, popping, and clicking in their jaw caused by temporomandibular joint disorder (often referred to as TMJ or TMD).
While there’s no magical pill to cure TMJ permanently, you have many options when it comes to treating TMD and gaining relief from TMJ pain.
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is the catch-all term for problems with the joints and muscles that make it possible to chew and talk. TMJ symptoms range from painless popping and clicking to “locked” jaws, jaw pain, difficulty chewing, ear pain, headaches, facial pain, toothaches, and dizziness.
TMD symptoms can range from mildly annoying to debilitating. Fortunately, you have a variety of pain relief methods for TMJ, depending on the severity of your case.
For mild to moderate discomfort, a TMJ home treatment can provide relief and prevent TMJ flare ups.
Botox is one of the newest and most effective long-term treatments for TMJ. While not a complete cure for TMJ, Botox offers a safe, conservative approach to preventing flareup symptoms and relieving TMD pain.
Blocking the contraction of muscles, Botox provides relief from the painful muscle spasms often a primary culprit in causing TMD pain.
Patents begin to feel pain relief within a few days – and most have complete relief of jaw pain and TMJ related headaches within a week. Results from Botox treatments for TMD last about three months – providing a safe, effective means of curbing TMJ pain.
Dr. Eversgerd and the staff at Allure Dental are thrilled to bring TMJ pain relief to the Mandeville area. A member of the American Association of Facial Esthetics, Dr. Eversgerd proudly offers safe, cutting edge Botox TMJ treatments for her patients.
- Take over the counter pain medication. NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) medications such as ibuprofen can relieve pain and reduce swelling.
- Apply heat and cold. Using a heating pad or applying ice packs to the jaws and temples can keep TMJ symptoms at bay as well.
- Do some jaw exercises. Jaw exercises often prove to be an effective home treatment for TMD. Please note: it’s best to check with a physical therapist or your dental team before beginning any exercises to ensure you’re not aggravating the condition.
- Give your jaw a rest. Your jaw, just like any other part of your body, needs rest to promote healing. And, if you’re grinding your teeth at night, your jaw is still working hard as the rest of your body rests. Try eating soft foods like smoothies, yogurt, mashed potatoes, apple sauce, steamed veggies, beans, and fish to give your jaw a break. Avoid hard foods like almonds and super chewy foods like taffy or chewing gum.
- Relax. Stress often aggravates TMJ. Both muscle tension and stress-related tooth grinding (bruxism) are contributing factors. Try yoga, deep breathing exercises, meditation, or your favorite form of stress management to prevent TMJ flare ups.
- Get a massage. A massage can aid in relaxation and also relax the tense muscles in the jaw, neck, and face, which are often responsible for TMJ pain. (For some forms of TMJ, a massage can make your symptoms worse. Work closely with your massage therapist or physical therapist to bring relief to your TMD symptoms.)
If you’ve tried home treatments or Botox for TMJ and you’re still experiencing pain, there are still options available for dealing with your TMD symptoms.
For some patients, TMJ symptoms can be relieved with the use of a TMJ appliance. Appliances relieve TMD symptoms by aligning the bite and preventing teeth from grinding together. As a general rule, patients wear the appliance 24/7. Other dentists may recommend a special mouth guard to treat and to avoid TMJ flare ups. These guards separate upper and lower teeth – alleviating symptoms for patients whose TMD is the result of nighttime bruxing (teeth grinding).
As a last resort, there are a handful of TMJ surgeries available. Generally, TMD surgeries are outpatient operations. Recovery times vary depending on the kind of surgery performed. Surgical procedures range from minimally invasive injections to open jaw surgery for the most severe cases.
Surgery is only recommended for patients with constant, severe TJM pain and jaw immobility.
Contact us today to learn how you can put an end to your TMD pain.
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