Have you ever had a toothache so bad that it feels like your head is going to explode? Or woke up one morning and couldn’t open your mouth because of the pain? If this sounds familiar, then you might have a TMJ disorder. TMJ disorders arise from problems with the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) in your jaw. They allow for chewing, talking, and grinding teeth together when you sleep. Book an appointment with Pendleton Orthodontics.
One of the most common treatments for TMJ disorders is oral splints. Oral splints help support and stabilize the jaw when it becomes misaligned or painful. It works much like a mouthguard in sports, except it rests on the upper teeth instead of covering them.
The person with this disorder wears them when they sleep at night so that the jaw doesn’t open or close too much and causes stress on already inflamed muscles. Splints are cheap, easy to use, and can be found at most pharmacies.
Physical therapy is another option for those who prefer a holistic approach to treating their disorder. Physical therapists use heat, cold, and other anti-inflammatory techniques such as myofascial release or cupping to help relieve pain and reduce spasms in the muscles surrounding the TMJs.
If you play sports and want to prevent damage to your teeth, a custom mouthguard is another good option for TMJ disorders. Mouthguards are custom fitted to the shape of your jaw, so they have a snug fit and don’t cause you discomfort.
If you grind or clench your teeth at night, a custom mouthguard can provide additional support so that your muscles don’t spasm or become injured because of the strain placed on them.
If nothing has worked and you’ve tried physical therapy, splints, and mouthguards with no success, surgery may be an option for you. Different surgical procedures, such as implant-assisted joint reconstruction or arthrocentesis, depend on your specific condition. Surgery requires general anesthesia and is usually conducted by an oral surgeon.
Sometimes, medication management is used in combination with physical therapy. Medication can help manage inflammation and reduce spasms in the muscles that surround the TMJ, which can prevent further damage to your jaw. Consider discussing the medications with a doctor to determine what is best for you, given your specific condition.
Regardless of the treatment you choose, it’s important to note that TMJ disorders affect up to 10% of the population and will likely worsen over time if left untreated. The key is to be proactive and take action when you notice a problem developing.
For those whose disorder is caused by inflammation, receiving joint injections may be an option. Joint injections use anti-inflammatory and pain medications to reduce the discomfort and spasms around the TMJ. If you have a lot of trouble with daily activities because of the constant pain in your jaw, this is something that you should discuss with your doctor as soon as possible.
If you or someone you know has TMJ disorder, it is crucial to seek treatment. From custom mouthguards and physical therapy to surgery, many options are available for those who suffer from this condition. The key is recognizing the symptoms and taking appropriate actions before TMJ worsens.