If you are suffering with any TMJ symptoms, such as jaw pain, headaches, and tinnitus, you may have been trying many different treatments to try and find one that actually works. We offer TMJ treatment based on neuromuscular dentistry, but with our care partners we are able to offer a full range of TMJ treatment so that everyone can get the best treatment for their TMJ.
Home Care for TMJ
In many cases of TMJ, no treatment is necessary, other than what you can do at home. Jaw pain, headaches, and jaw joint popping and clicking are the most common first symptoms of TMJ. If you experience these symptoms, take some home care steps.
First, try to relax your jaw. If you’ve been talking a lot lately, try to take a break. Change to a soft diet and avoid chewing gum, popcorn, and other treats that can put stress on your jaw joint and muscles.
Use heat to soothe tense muscles and cold to combat inflammation in the joint area.
Take over-the-counter pain relievers and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve) to control swelling. Remember, over-the-counter doesn’t always mean “safe”—carefully follow the instructions on the label and never take more than the recommended dose unless instructed to by your doctor. Also be aware of the potential interactions between your prescriptions and over-the-counter medications.
If your jaw symptoms don’t resolve within a week of home care, seek professional treatment.
Neuromuscular Dentistry for TMJ Treatment
Dr. Haddad is a Fellow of the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, the leading center for neuromuscular dentistry training in the world. He has extensive training in how to manage bite problems with noninvasive, nonsurgical, and drug-free treatments. Neuromuscular dentistry is a great place to start when you feel you require professional TMJ treatment.
Usually, we will begin by relaxing your jaw using transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), a kind of electric massage. Once your jaw muscles are relaxed, you will likely experience immediate relief. In fact, for many people, periodic TENS is all that’s required for long-lasting TMJ relief.
If we determine that there are problems with your bite that require further intervention, we will recommend an oral appliance that will hold your jaw in a relaxed, functional position. This is a therapeutic appliance, and isn’t normally intended to create long-lasting or permanent changes in your bite.
You will wear this appliance for much of the day at first, and it may require a few adjustments to achieve optimal relief. After a while, you may only have to wear your appliance at night.
If you like the results we’ve achieved with the appliance but not the appliance itself, we can discuss reconstructive dentistry that will repair current tooth damage and wear while making the effects of the appliance permanent.
Laser therapy is an amazing supporting treatment for TMJ disorders that encourages your body to heal. Precise wavelengths of light target specific mechanisms in the body’s ability to get and use oxygen. Improving the body’s use of oxygen makes it better able to heal. Dr. Haddad is the only one in Michigan offering K-Laser treatment for TMJ.
Physical Therapy for TMJ
Physical therapy includes a number of manipulations that are designed to relax the muscles and loosen the jaw joints. A physical therapist may recommend exercises that you can perform at home, which can help reduce muscle tension and improve range of motion. The physical therapist may perform massages on your jaw muscles, and may move your jaw in ways that are intended to loosen up scar tissue in the joints. They may also counsel you on things like posture and bad motion habits that can impact your TMJ.
Medications used in TMJ treatment may be used to either alleviate symptoms — such as pain — or address the root cause of your TMJ. Pain medications used may include NSAIDs, opiates, or certain antidepressants. Medications that attempt to address your TMJ include muscle relaxants and sedatives. Muscle relaxants can help relieve muscle tension that contributes to jaw pain, face pain, tooth damage, and other TMJ symptoms, and may include injectable treatments which are still being evaluated as a TMJ treatment. Steroid injections may be used to attempt to resolve swelling. Sedatives are often used to address night bruxism.
Arthrocentesis is technically a nonsurgical procedure, and it’s often used to try to head off the need for surgery. In this procedure, fluids are passed through the jaw joint to remove debris or chemicals that perpetuate swelling.
Jaw joint surgery may involve attempts to remove scar tissue or an actual replacement of the jaw joint. Because of the high risk of complications, this is considered a last resort for TMJ treatment.
If you would like to learn more about TMJ treatment in Detroit, please call (248) 480-0085 or email us the Michigan Center for TMJ & Sleep Wellness today for an appointment.