Treatment of TMJ Disorder involves a coordinated effort between you and your dentist. Fortunately, proper treatment can drastically decrease your discomfort. However, the first step is to recognize the symptoms and seek help.
Treatment typically involves two parts: (#1) home care done by you and (#2) treatment provided by the dentist.
Avoid gum chewing: Believe it or not, gum is a common culprit.
Prevent opening too widely: During yawning, singing, and eating, you should pay attention to how wide you open.
Stress reduction: Stress may increase clenching and grinding of your teeth.
Eat soft foods: Soft food reduces the work load of your jaw joint and chewing muscles.
Muscle massages: Massage your chewing muscles using your fingers; your dentist will instruct you on how to properly accomplish these exercises.
Treatment provided by the dentist:
Stabilize your bite: Adjusting your bite may help prevent uneven pressure on your jaw joints.
Bite Splint: A Bite Splint (AKA Mouth Guard, Dental Splint, Night Guard) will help position your jaw to stabilize your jaw joint and relieve pressure.
Prescribe medications: If necessary, muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory pain medications may be prescribed.
Stress Management: Stress can be a key contributory factor to your discomfort, so your dentist may refer you to a stress management professional.
Joint Surgery: After all other treatment methodologies have been attempted, joint surgery can be the last resort in particular cases. In this situation, you would be referred to a highly trained and experienced Oral Surgeon for an evaluation.
About my experiences helping patients with TMJ Disorder
After attending and teaching at Tufts Dental School, I moved to south Florida with my wife Joanne and have been practicing in the Delray and Boynton Beach area for over 25 years. Each year, more new patients come to my office for treatment of TMJ Disorder. The disease is certainly becoming more prevalent. Some dentists attribute this to the elevated stress levels in America, while others believe patients are just more apt to seek care. Regardless, if you experience symptoms, my strongest advise is to seek a professional opinion. If you have any questions or would like to schedule a TMJ evaluation, please feel free to contact us