Temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, can impact your daily life. It can make eating, swallowing, and even talking difficult. TMJ is painful and annoying, but luckily there are a few ways that it can be treated. Listed below are a few options for those of you suffering from TMJ who are looking for a bit of relief in your day-to-day lives.
A mouthguard is an oral appliance that fits over the teeth and is frequently, but not always, designed to align your jaw. A mouthguard can also serve to prevent you from grinding your teeth, so there's an added bonus for those that suffer from bruxism.
Mouthguard use will not, in fact, cure TMJ, but it does serve a critical function in rehabilitating those that suffer from TMJ. While their use in jaw realignment is viewed with a bit of skepticism in the professional community, it should be noted that grinding and gnashing one's teeth can contribute to exacerbating the condition of TMJ. As such, a mouthguard can prevent your TMJ from getting to a much worse condition than it originally was in. These are especially effective when worn at night, a time when many people unconsciously grind their teeth.
If you are suffering from TMJ, talk to your dentist about getting fitting for a custom mouthguard that you can wear at night. He or she should be able to make you a mouthguard, as well as offer additional treatment options for your TMJ.
Botox is becoming an increasingly popular way of treating TMJ. A botox injection is given to the patient on the side of the jaw, which effectively "freezes" the muscle of the jaw, which supposedly relieves an ample amount of tension on the mandible and creates a sense of comfort.
TMJ patients probably had not experienced since before he or she contracted the disorder. Many patients claim that botox has been incredibly effective in the treatment of their symptoms. Botox has also been approved by the FDA in the treatment of many other muscular disorders. Having said this, TMJ is not one of those disorders of which the FDA has approved. Many potential patients are a bit weary of this treatment for that very reason.
Since TMJ is a disorder that largely effects the muscles, it should come as no surprise that a physical therapist can work wonders for you. A physical therapist will first work with you regarding your posture. Your posture can deeply affect the degree to which TMJ works on your jaw.
First and foremost, those who sit or stand with their head slouched or in a slanted, forward facing position will find that their TMJ problems will be much more salient. A physical therapist will work on "correcting" your posture for this very reason. Your physical therapist will also work with you on certain specialized jaw movements. These are considered "low load" exercises, which means that there won't be much impact involved in the exercise and such movements are designed to increase the flexibility of the jaw.
An arthrocentesis procedure is performed on a person who is suffering from TMJ due to a slipped disc. The procedure is considered incredibly simple and very effective; many times it can be performed in the office of your doctor. First, a local anesthetic is applied to the affected area. Then, two hyperdermic needles are placed in the area of question. These needles are filled with a saline solution that will flush out the area and allow your physician to manipulate the jaw in such a way that will allow for a speedy recovery. An arthrocentetic procedure cannot be performed surgically, despite what hearsay you may have heard about the matter.