Which Dental Method will ease your TMJ Pain

Find Out How You Can Get TMJ Relief Now

Facial pain can have many causes, but one that can be especially annoying is a pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Pain in this joint can be rather hard to resolve, but there are several dental options that can help to provide jaw pain relief. Some of them are non-surgical and work well, but surgical options are also available.

The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ)

The TMJ is the joint that connects the jaw to your skull. You may experience ongoing pain in the joint (called TMJ syndrome) when you have experienced some injury such as an injury to your teeth, grinding your teeth, or from a misalignment of your jaw.

Other problems may also cause TMJ pain, some of them are things you may experience every day. This may include:

  • Stress

  • Gum chewing

  • Arthritis

  • Poor posture

  • Bite misalignment.

TMJ Symptoms

Jaw pain results in a number of symptoms, some of which may seem unrelated. They may include:
  • A clicking or popping sound in the jaw

  • Sore or stiff jaw muscles

  • Pain in the jaw joint

  • A locking of the jaw joint

  • An earache

  • Headaches

  • Pain in the temple area.

At-Home Treatments

Jaw pain will many times go away after treating yourself with home remedies. Applying heat or ice often helps, and you will want to avoid hard foods and foods that require a lot of chewing. Do not chew gum or yawn wide. Medications may also be used to provide some TMJ relief and can include over-the-counter medications, NSAIDs, muscle relaxants, anti-anxiety drugs, and more.

When these methods do not bring the desired relief, you can get professional help from a TMJ dentist, and others. There are both non-surgical and surgical methods available to treat TMJ.

Non-surgical TMJ treatments

  • A mouth guard – The dentist may give you a mouth guard (oral appliance) that is similar to what an athlete wears. It can prevent further damage from clenching or grinding, and the dentist may specify whether it is for day or night use. It can be used to realign your bite and may be used in conjunction with a TENS device.

  • TENS therapy – This therapy focuses on the use of a transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) to exercise the jaw very quickly. It can provide temporary relief and it enables the jaw to relax more, letting dentists discover the natural resting place of your jaw.

  • Adjusting Your Bite – Over time, your bite can change due to missing teeth or age. Your jaw becomes smaller and this can change your bite. A dentist can see where you have more than usual wear on your teeth and may try to alter your bite by reshaping some of your teeth. This may be done after the other non-permanent methods have not brought TMJ relief.

  • Jaw Muscle Exercises – The dentist may recommend some jaw muscle exercises that will help to relax your muscles and strengthen them. When they are not strong enough, it could cause one side to be stronger than the other, pulling your jaw slightly to one side.

  • Meditation and Biofeedback – The dentist may encourage you to try some relaxation techniques to help you control your jaw tension. Techniques may include meditation, biofeedback, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

  • Acupuncture – Some patients looking for TMJ relief have found that acupuncture is beneficial for their temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).

  • Low-Level Laser or Ultrasound – These two techniques may be offered by some dentists. They have been found to help some patients with TMJ.

TMJ Treatments That Are Minimally Invasive

  • Botox Injections – If other therapies have not worked, an injection of Botox for TMJ may work. This is a new treatment, however, and it is not yet researched enough to draw a valid conclusion about its effectiveness.

  • Corticosteroid Injections – An injection of corticosteroids into the joint can help the joint move more smoothly, reducing the pain.

  • Implants and Crowns – A dentist may recommend getting a dental implant or crown to alter your bite, enabling your teeth to fit together better.

Surgical Jaw Pain Treatment

Arthrocentesis – This procedure requires using thin instruments with a camera to look at the joint from inside. Some tissue or debris may be removed that could be causing the pain. Arthrocentesis is usually conducted under general surgery.

Open Joint Surgery

Some cases require that an oral surgeon perform open surgery on the joint. This occurs when a correction cannot be made with other methods, such as when the joint needs to be replaced, or when there are tumors in or around the joint.

When you have already tried to find relief for your TMJ pain, and have not yet it, you can get help from Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board-certified Periodontist. He provides a number of TMJ remedies to enable you to get jaw pain relief. If you live in the Carrollton, TX, and Grapevine, TX areas, you can call his office for more information or to set up an appointment at  (817) 756-8578.