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Published on March 26, 2024

4 Tips for Managing Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMJ)

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

Temporomandibular joint disorders are conditions that cause pain in the jaw joint and the muscles responsible for controlling jaw movement. You may also have difficulties closing and opening your mouth, among other issues. Although these disorders can cause chronic pain, applying the right practices and treatments can help alleviate pain and improve oral health. Discussed below are four tips for managing temporomandibular joint disorders.

1.    Consider botox

Botox, a non-surgical procedure, is one of the cosmetic dental options for managing temporomandibular joint disorders. Botox, or botulinum toxin, works by temporarily paralyzing the jaw muscles, helping lower muscle tension while alleviating TMJ symptoms. It provides immediate jaw pain relief, making it perfect for anyone looking for a fast TMJ solution.

Botox lasts three to four months and even longer in some patients, which makes it an ideal option for those seeking to manage their symptoms minus regular visits to the doctor. The injections can help:

  • Reduce jaw muscle tension, minimizing discomfort and letting the tissues relax, improving joint mobility
  • Cut down teeth grinding and clenching, relieving pain and boosting quality of life for TMJ victims

2.    Seek physical therapy treatments

A physical therapist will examine and recommend suitable treatments to help relieve pain, ease TMJ symptoms, and enhance jaw function. There are various treatment options your physical therapist can use for your temporomandibular joint disorders, including:

  • Ice or heat application: Ice helps minimize pain and inflammation around the jaw, while heat relaxes muscles and lessens muscular spasms and pain
  • Massage: Physical therapists use different massage techniques to cure your jaw pain. The massage aims at relaxing muscles and improving circulation to them, letting normal motion happen in the temporomandibular joint
  • Ultrasound: Therapists use this treatment to deliver deep heat to your tissues and boost cellular mobility
  • Exercises: Your therapist will recommend exercises that will enhance how the jaw closes and opens, helping restore normal and pain-free jaw movement

3.    Go for surgery

Although TMJ disorder surgery can lessen pain and enhance jaw functioning, it’s used as a last resort, meaning you should only try it if non-surgical procedures have failed. Some of the surgical options for temporomandibular joint disorders include:

  • Arthroscopy: It’s a minimally invasive procedure, meaning recovery is faster than open surgery
  • Arthrocentesis: It involves injecting fluid into the joint to clean it and remove all the inflammatory triggers
  • Joint replacement: It involves replacing the entire TMJ or parts of it with a prosthetic to boost function
  • Open joint surgery: The procedure is more invasive and involves operating the joint itself

4.    Use TMJ appliances

TMJ appliances are a non-invasive treatment that doesn’t involve using any medication. The appliances aim to ease the discomfort, stiffness, and pain associated with temporomandibular joint disorders. TMJ appliances are like mouthguards in that they fit over the lower or upper teeth.

Unlike mouthguards, these appliances are designed to cure jaw joint-related conditions. Stabilization splints or bite guards are the most common TMJ appliances. They’re authorized, fitted, and adjusted to suit your jaw shape and mouth. The prolonged use of these splints reduces jaw pressure and ends chronic pain.

Endnote

TMJ disorders can lead to pain in the jaw joint and the surrounding muscles. However, using these tips can help you manage temporomandibular joint disorders.


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