How Is TMJ Disorder Treated?

woman holding her jaw in pain from TMJ disorder

Your TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, helps a lot of everyday functions that you probably don’t think twice about like talking and yawning. So when something is amiss with the joint, it can cause some serious discomfort. This condition is called TMD or temporomandibular disorder. If you’re diagnosed with TMD, the type of treatment your health professional will recommend for you will be different depending on the severity of your case. These are the most common ways that TMJ disorder is treated:

Physical Therapy & Lifestyle Changes

For those who have mild cases of TMJ disorder, their doctor may recommend a number of different physical therapies or at-home remedies to ease the discomfort. Even if you have more severe TMJ, they might recommend some of these to accompany another treatment.

Some examples include using an ice pack on the joint, taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen, giving up on chewing gum, and avoiding crunchy foods that may require more jaw work to chew. They also may give you some simple massage or stretching techniques to use on your jaw or neck to help it relax.

Custom Oral Appliance

Another common treatment for TMJ disorder is a custom-made oral appliance, which you may also hear referred to as a dental splint or a bite guard. These types of oral appliances are designed to realign the way your upper and lower teeth fit together to keep them in the proper position, stop contact between the teeth, and help prevent teeth grinding. How long you have to wear this oral appliance will depend on the type you get, but some are worn only at night.

TMJ Surgery

For those with severe TMD, the best course of action may be surgery. There are different types of surgery for this, including those designed to fix the joint and those meant to replace the joint entirely. Each type of surgery has it’s various recovery periods and possible complications, so it’s important to discuss all of these with a health professional when making a decision.

TMJ Therapy at Reen Chung, DDS

At our Seattle dental practice, we offer TMJ therapy as part of our suite of comprehensive dental services. To learn more about the best treatment option for you, schedule a consultation with us today!

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Reen Chung, DDS

Reen Chung, DDS