Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint at which your lower jaw meets your skull. The joint and the muscles attached are responsible for all movement of your mouth—chewing, speaking, yawning and more. When the joint becomes irritated (a condition is known as temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD), every one of its functions is affected. You may experience severe pain in the joint and face, and have difficulty eating and speaking. At Fusion Dental Specialists, the health of your mouth is our highest priority. When you are experiencing TMJ troubles, we can provide you with treatment options.
Treating at Home
For mild TMJ problems, some patients find that home remedies work just fine. There are several things you can do at home to help ease the pain:
Medication For TMJ
Medications can be used to help reduce the pain associated with your TMJ. Some patients can get the relief they need with over the counter pain relievers. However, if your pain is more severe, a prescription may be required. Depending on your specific situation, we may prescribe muscle relaxers, which will help to ease the tension your jaw muscles exert, thereby lessening the pressure on the joint itself.
A common therapy for TMJ problems is a night mouth guard. This oral device is a custom fit mouth guard that is designed to fit perfectly over your top teeth. It keeps your jaw in proper alignment while cushioning your teeth from the impact of clenching. Other types of therapies may include acupuncture or physical therapy.
Injections may also be used to alleviate pain. Botox is a common one. Botox is commonly used for cosmetic procedures, relaxing the facial muscles to lessen the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Used for TMJ treatment, it relaxes the muscles in the jaw, so you cannot clench them as hard as you once did. With less pressure exerted, your jaw, and your joint can begin to heal. Another option for injection is corticosteroids.
Surgery to alleviate TMJ pain should be used as a last resort. It is often reserved for situations in which no other TMJ treatment methods have worked. The type of surgery performed depends heavily on your unique situation, and can include:
If your jaw is causing you severe pain and discomfort, don't delay. Call Fusion Dental Specialists today at (503) 653-2299 to schedule your appointment!