Understanding your treatment options is the first step towards a pain-free future.
Non-Surgical TMJ Treatments
At the Carolinas Center for Oral and Facial Surgery, our practitioners strive to help patients understand how joint and muscle pain are intertwined. They take the time to do this so that lifestyle habits can be altered in order to gain long-term treatment success. We also endeavor to treat the entire person; we listen to all concerns. The majority of our patients can be treated in a conservative, non-surgical manner.
- Education – We strive to make our patients know about the causes and effects of TMJ Disorders and offer simple lifestyle modifications to alleviate symptoms. We take our time to ensure every patient leaves feeling informed and knowledgeable about TMJ Disorders.
- CT Scans – 3D imaging in our state-of-the-art offices is crucial in proper diagnosis and ruling out other possible pathology.
- Splints – We work with patients to create a custom-made oral appliance that is used to protect the joint and help muscles relax.
- Medications – It’s often as simple as finding the best medicine for the patient. A medication can help reduce inflammation, improve sleep patterns, and decrease muscle and joint pain.
- Physical Therapy – Physical Therapy can help with postural habits, strengthen muscles, increase range of motion and relieve muscle pain.
- Trigger Point Injections – A simple injection can help alleviate muscle/tendon pain and aid in reducing inflammation.
- Botox – A strong paralytic medicine injected into the jaw muscles to reduce tightness or stiffness. It is frequently used to help alleviate Tension Headaches and muscle discomfort in patients with severe clenching habits by blocking pain transmitters and weakening muscle strength.
- Joint Lavage/Arthrocentesis – This one is basically an oil change for your joint! It can release adhesions and remove inflammation.
There are various treatment options for TMJ that our doctors can utilize to improve the harmony and function of your jaw. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, we will determine the proper course of treatment. It is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach of self-care joined with professional care. The initial goals are to relieve the muscle spasm and joint pain. This is usually accomplished with a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory, or muscle relaxant. Steroids can be injected directly into the joints to reduce pain and inflammation.
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Self-Care TMJ Treatments
Self & home care can often be effective as well and include:
- Resting your jaw
- Keeping your teeth apart when you are not swallowing or eating
- Eating soft foods
- Applying ice and heat
- Exercising your jaw
- Practicing good posture
What About Bite Correction Or Surgery?
If your TMJ disorder has caused problems with how your teeth fit together, you may need treatment such as bite adjustment (equilibration), orthodontics with or without jaw reconstruction, or restorative dental work. Surgical options such as arthroscopy and open joint repair restructuring are sometimes needed, but are reserved for severe cases. Our doctors do not consider TMJ surgery unless the jaw can’t open, is dislocated and non-reducible, has severe degeneration, or the patient has undergone appliance treatment unsuccessfully.