What Does TMJ Treatment Look Like?
TMJ treatments can vary from very conservative and noninvasive to more invasive treatments requiring injections and/or surgery.
Conservative treatments for TMJ/TMD may include resting your jaw, practicing good posture, managing your stress, keeping your teeth separated when not eating, and other simple self-care techniques. You can get pain relief from pain medications. The dentist may also recommend anti-inflammatory medications and muscle relaxants.
Physical therapy involving jaw exercises can help realign your bite. You may be told to wear a special appliance in your mouth. TMJ appliances are similar to a traditional night guard with the exception that for an appliance to properly treat your TMD, your joint needs to be guided into its most stable position to relieve pain and pressure that is being placed onto the joint and surrounding muscles.
Orthodontics is an effective way to realign your bite. You could benefit from wearing braces or clear aligners. Some cases may require steroids injected into your joint, or BOTOX used in specific muscles to manage their function. In severe cases, surgery may be required to restructure your joint.
How Can TMJ/TMD Disorder Be Prevented?
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to prevent the painful and damaging effects of TMJ disorders. Since many of the symptoms occur when you are tense or stressed, you can learn more about what makes you stressed and do something soothing to relieve the tension once you become aware of it. Counseling can help with this, too.
Lifestyle modifications, such as cutting your food into smaller bites, eating soft foods, and avoiding chewing gum, can also help prevent TMJ issues. Relaxation techniques and massages are good for your body and mind, and they can prevent several problems, including TMJ/TMD.
Practicing good dental hygiene is important. The better care you provide to your teeth, the less likely you’ll experience major problems. Going to the dentist for regular checkups allows your dentist to keep tabs on the condition of your TMJ, so if problems begin, you’ll be able to treat them in the early stages.