Temporomandibular joint dysfunction, better known as TMJ, triggers excess jaw pain in millions of people and can be very hard to diagnose. It’s also important to note that, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, temporomandibular disorders like these are twice as common in women than in men, especially for those between 35 to 44. Thankfully, you can get treatment for TMJ that manages your pain effectively.
Diagnosing the Issue
A dental professional starts by listening to your jaw as you open and close your mouth to hear potential locking sounds. Then, they observe your jaw’s range of motion and look for signs of pain or discomfort. Various scans, such as X-rays, MRIs, and CTs, can also help spot potential issues. A TMJ arthroscopy can help to track these issues more effectively by using a tube and camera to spot the joint’s problem and create a treatment method that makes sense for you.
Dentists typically start with nonsurgical treatments to avoid invasive surgery. This process includes pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medicines that reduce swelling. Sometimes, tricyclic anti-depressants and muscle relaxants may also help reduce your pain. Typically, they increase your dosage if your symptoms worsen and can prescribe exercises and other therapies to minimize your issues and improve your pain management.
If medications don’t provide maximum treatment effectiveness, your doctor may try other approaches. For example, oral splints are a popular treatment for TMJ that helps minimize pain for some people. They may also provide physical therapy, including jaw-strengthening exercises, that improves your therapy. Often, these therapies stop a person’s TMJ from worsening further. Many of these options can be done at your home, including various range-of-motion and strengthening routines.
When your TMJ pain doesn’t improve with conservative care, surgery may be necessary. These include various types of injections, mandible correction, and open-joint surgery. Typically, they start with the least invasive surgery first and progress to open surgery when necessary. As a result, dentists typically choose open-joint surgery as a last resort for TMJ pain management.
Getting treatment for TMJ can ensure that your jaw pain gets properly managed and will ensure you recover as effectively as possible. Don’t let yourself suffer for a second longer than necessary. Instead, reach out to our team at TMJ Care today to learn more about how we can help you with treatment. Our care experts will help you understand your options and ensure you get the best approach possible.