The pain and symptoms related to a disorder of either or both temporomandibular joints can significantly disrupt your life, diminishing your enjoyment in activities. However, we at Summit OMS assure you that you do not just have to live with the discomfort. Looking for a “TMJ specialist near me“? Consulting an oral surgeon and TMJ doctor at Summit OMS can evaluate your symptoms and suggest possible options for TMJ pain treatment.
Before we can recommend treatment options for your TMJ pain, we must first determine the severity of your symptoms and attempt to determine their cause. We will perform an examination of your jaw during which we may assess its range of motion and identify areas of pain with gentle touch. We may also feel your temporomandibular joint as you open and close your mouth while listening to the sounds it produces. Prior to the examination, we will also discuss with you the symptoms you are having.
It is not always possible to identify the exact cause of TMJ disorder. However, imaging studies may help. To assess the cartilage of the joint, we may order an MRI. We may also perform dental X-rays or order a CT scan to get a look at the bones. On occasion, identifying a TMJ disorder requires diagnostic surgery in the form of an arthroplasty.
Mild symptoms may require no further TMJ pain treatment than home remedies and lifestyle changes, including the following:
- Ice packs
- Moist heat
- Muscle massage and/or stretching
You should also try to become more aware of any activities that overwork the jaw muscles. Counseling can help you identify and avoid these activities.
Even if your symptoms are more severe, it does not automatically mean that your best treatment option is surgery. We make recommend conservative, i.e., nonsurgical treatment options. The following are conservative treatment options that may prove effective:
- Physical Therapy
This may include strengthening and stretching exercises for the muscles of the jaw, but it can also involve treatment modalities, such as ultrasound.
- Occlusal appliances
These include mouth guards or oral splints to improve your bite. They can be either firm or soft. Occlusal appliances are removable and often need to be worn only at night. If we determine that a splint or mouth guard is a good option for you, we will instruct you on its use.
Several types of medications have proven to provide effective TMJ pain treatment for some patients. You may not be aware of it, but certain antidepressants in low doses may also help. Additional medications include muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatories, and pain relievers.
We typically do not recommend surgery for TMJ pain except when other treatment options have failed.
A structural problem in the joint may require arthrotomy, which is a type of open-joint surgery, to correct any abnormalities in the joint. However, we will not perform this unless all other options have failed due to the increased risk of complications.
It may not be necessary to perform surgery on the TMJ itself. A modified condylotomy is performed on the mandible to address the TMJ indirectly.
Less invasive procedures may also prove to be effective. Arthroscopy involves inserting a small camera directly into the joint via a small incision to identify problems, along with small surgical tools via one or more other small incisions to correct them. Arthrocentesis irrigates the TMJ with fluid via a small needle inserted directly into the joint to flush out debris. You may benefit from injections of medications that partially paralyze the jaw muscles or reduce inflammation.
Relief Is Possible
You should not have to live with the pain and other negative effects of a temporomandibular joint disorder. At Summit OMS, we will recommend the TMJ pain treatment options that we believe will be most effective in your particular situation. Contact our office to schedule an evaluation.