What Can a Dentist Do for TMJ?
If your TMJ disorder occurs from teeth grinding, the dentist’s office advises you to wear custom dental equipment. It is known as a splint or bite plate. It keeps upper teeth from rubbing against your lower teeth. When the TMJ condition originates from a dental issue, the dental expert diagnoses it and creates a solid treatment plan.
The good news for the patients is that TMJ disorder can be treatable via non-invasive ways when addressed before the discomfort starts worsening. That is why it’s worth choosing a dentist that specializes in TMJ pain. The TMJ in Little Rock expert will provide you with a tailored TMJ treatment plan that helps you get immediate relief from your symptoms.
What is a TMJ Disorder?
Do you experience popping or clicking in your TMJ joint? If yes, it is known as TMJ disorder.
When the dentist at Knight Dental Care finds any issue in your temporomandibular joint, he/she does the following:
- CT Scan – It helps in giving in-depth pictures of the joint bone.
- MRI – It finds issues with the joint disk or nearby tissue.
- Dental X-rays – It evaluates the condition of jaws and teeth.
How a Dental Expert Helps TMJ Patients?
In a few cases, TMJ disorder signs fade away without any treatment. However, if the symptoms stay for longer the dentist may recommend the following treatment options to the patients.
Below are the medications that help in eradicating aches associated with TMJ disorders.
a) Anti-Inflammatory Medications and Pain Relievers
When pain medicines do not relieve TMJ pain in patients, the dentist may recommend strong pain-relieving medicine for some time. It helps in managing inflammation and jaw pain in the TMJ temporarily.
b) Tricyclic Antidepressants
These antidepressant medications are recommended generally for those in depression. But in low doses, they are also effective in providing pain relief, sleeplessness, and managing bruxism caused due to stress. These anti-anxiety medications are prescribed by the doctor on a case-by-case basis.
c) Muscle Relaxants
Muscle relaxants are another great remedy that relieves pain caused due to TMJ disorders by muscle spasms.
2. Non-drug Therapies
The dental professional sometimes advises the following therapies including:
a) Occlusal Equipment
Occlusal equipment generally includes mouth guards or oral splints. They are soft devices inserted over the teeth. They provide relief to patients with jaw pain. Occlusal splints or guards also prevent the teeth from locking together.
Counseling gives a better understanding to the patients about the TMJ factors and behavior that makes the TMJ pain intense. For example, biting fingernails, teeth grinding, etc.
c) Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is also essential in strengthening jaw muscles. They include Stretching, relaxation, releasing tight muscles and using ice, moist heat, etc.
Exercise is also helpful in relieving TMJ pain by relaxing the jaw and strengthening jaw muscles. It also helps in improving jaw mobility and reducing clicking in jaws. Exercises for TMJ usually includes:
- Chin tucks
- Tongue up
- Forward jaw movement
- Side-to-side jaw movement
3. Other Procedures
Other procedures used for TMJ disorder relief include:
a) TMJ Arthroscopy
Arthroscopy surgery is excellent in treating different types of TMJ disorders. During the procedure, the doctor places a cannula (tiny thin tube) into the joint area. After that, the dental expert inserts arthroscopy and small surgical equipment for the surgery.
The dentist also sometimes recommends injections into the jaw muscles of the patient. These injections include such as botulinum toxin type-A, corticosteroid injections, etc. It helps in getting rid of aches associated with TMJ disorders.
It is a minimally invasive treatment that the dentist suggests when other procedures do not work. During Arthrocentesis, the expert inserts tiny needles into the joint to eliminate inflammatory by-products and other waste.
d) Open-Joint Surgery
The doctor advises an open joint surgery when the jaw pain does not go away with more conservative treatments. This surgery helps in replacing or repairing affected joints.
Soft Food Diet for TMJ
Another treatment option for TMJ pain relief is consuming soft foods. They generally include fruits, yogurt, soups, eggs, smoothies, tofu, apple sauce, well-cooked vegetables, etc.
But it is essential to ensure that you are receiving the vital amount of protein, vitamins, fiber, and other nutrients in your diet. However, if you are lacking them, consider nutrition supplements.