The temporomandibular joints (TMJ’s) are among the most prominent and routinely used joints in the entire human body. You use these joints every time you eat, speak or chew. You can find the TMJ’s on either side of the head in front of the ear, where they attach the bottom jaw to the skull. When the TMJ becomes inflamed, worn, fatigued, or injured, the results can range from irritating clicking and locking of the jaw to continuous, excruciating pain.
The possible origins of TMJ disorder are many and varied; in most cases, many causes are at play and, in many cases, we cannot identify a specific reason for the discomfort. The symptoms of TMJ disorder can be different. While pain can be limited at the site of the TMJs or in the jaw, it can expand to the neck, shoulders, head, and even the back. The disorder can also manifest itself in such seemingly irrelevant symptoms as tinnitus, chronic migraines, and hearing loss.
TMJ disorder treatments generally include multiple remedial approaches, depending on the underlying causes and the symptoms that present. Because most TMJ disorders are highly complicated, a complex, multifaceted, fully tailored solution is often needed. Our goal is not only to provide instant relief for the most troubling symptoms, including pain, but to correct the issues contributing to the disorder for long term relief.
Common Treatments for TMJ Disorder
Treatment for TMJ disorder is varied and often dependent on multiple factors. Dr Naidoo will often take the following into account when determining a treatment plan:
- The results of your head, neck, mouth, and jaw examinations
- Lifestyle and Habits
- The symptoms you present
- Your medical and dental records
Some of the treatment approaches Dr Naidoo may take involve the following:
Lifestyle changes: The first step to resolving a TMJ disorder is often simple changes to lifestyle. Stress, sleep deprivation, alcohol consumption, and an unhealthy lifestyle can all contribute to TMJ disorder.
Physical therapy: Another conservative method, specific jaw exercises can help to train the jaw muscles and relieve the discomfort associated with TMJ disorder.
Custom mouthguard treatment: Many patients who suffer from TMJ disorder also grind their teeth, usually without realizing that they are doing so and generally while they are asleep. This condition, called bruxism, is often linked to stress. A custom mouthguard can be created to reduce the pressure placed on the teeth and jaw. The mouthguard is to be worn in the mouth overnight. In some patients, this alone serves to relieve much of the discomfort of TMJ disorder.
Orthodontic treatment: Patients who have crooked teeth and a structurally faulty bite often also present with TMJ Issues. Orthodontic procedures, such as braces, can bring the teeth into proper alignment, potentially helping to relieve the symptoms of TMJ disorder.
Orthognathic surgery: Restorative jaw surgery can be performed to improve the jaw alignment and reduce the discomfort associated with TMJ. This is typically considered as a last-resort treatment unless the patient suffers from a congenital deformity.
Learn More about TMJ Disorder Treatments
To learn more about TMJ disorder treatments, please contact Dr Naidoo today.