Conservative Treatment and Management of Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

Conservative Treatment and Management of Temporomandibular Joint DisordersEach side of the jaw has a sliding hinge in the name of a temporomandibular joint(TMJ), which connects the lower jawbone with the skull. Issues affecting jaw joints and muscles or fibrous connective tissues associated with jaw movements are known as temporomandibular joint disorders.

People with these disorders may find it difficult and painful to move their jaws. The pain can also be felt in the surrounding areas, especially the face and neck.

Some of the common causes of TMJ disorders include injury to the jaw or joint, arthritis, genetics, joint erosion, and teeth clenching or grinding. Those with excessive reflex teeth grinding problems also experience eroded teeth enamel.

So, how are TMJ symptoms managed and treated?

Wearing Mouthguards

Dentists will recommend wearing a mouthguard once you’ve been diagnosed with a TMJ disorder. Mouthguards, also known as splints or occlusal orthotic appliances, have been proven to help ease jaw stiffness and painful pressure.

However, remember that each person’s mouth is different in many aspects, including jaw size, bite, and oral cavity. Therefore, for better results, it’s advisable to wear a professionally fitted mouthguard. A dentist can create an occlusal orthotic appliance that matches the unique features of your mouth.

Over the counter or one-size-fits-all mouthguards might be useful to some people, but many patients end up experiencing more damage and aggravated pain.

Well, this conservative TMJ treatment is effective in the following two ways:

Preventing bruxism

A person suffering from bruxism may unconsciously grind, gnash, or clench their teeth even when they are asleep. If this involuntary habit is not controlled, the enamel on your teeth can wear away eventually. Wearing mouth guards can help keep you from damaging your teeth further.

Alleviating TMJ symptoms

Custom-designed mouthguards, such as the Nociceptive Trigeminal Inhibition Tension Suppression System ( NTI-tss) devices, hold the affected jaw in its correct position. They are created specifically to help ease the TMJ symptoms, and many patients have greatly benefited from wearing this type of mouthguard.

Besides limiting teeth grinding or clenching, the NTI-tss devices make the connecting muscles and tissues relax, thus reducing spasms and painful pressure.

What Should I Do If MouthGuards And NTI-tss Devices Do Not Provide Relief?

Sometimes wearing custom-made mouthguards is not a sure-fire way to treat and manage TMJ disorders. If this method does not work for you, there are other conservative treatment options to get the relief you need. Your healthcare provider may recommend:

-Massaging techniques and stretching exercises

-Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to alleviate stiffness and pain in the jaw joints and connecting muscles

-Therapy techniques like acupuncture to trigger point injections and alleviate TMJ symptoms

If the above treatment methods still fail, your dentist might suggest that you undergo surgery. Otherwise, the condition might worsen with time.

Well, TMJ arthroscopy and open-joint surgery are quite effective in treating various TMJ disorders. However, many doctors will first recommend at least two pain-relieving, non-invasive surgical techniques. And, of course, they will let you know the potential benefits and risks of each method.

There you have it! Contact Paul Mansky Dental today!  We are located in Troy, Michigan and can be reached at (248) 689-5508 and we hope to hear from you soon!