The temporomandibular joints are located on both sides of the jaw, and although we may not give them much thought, they are almost always at work. Whenever we open and close our mouths to eat or speak, the TMJ make it happen, but even the subtle jaw movements we unconsciously make throughout the day are enabled by these joints. When the TMJ or the muscles surrounding them begin to cause pain, it can be impossible to ignore given how much we use these joints. Finding the best treatment for TMJ pain requires the help of a specialist; here’s why.
A Customized Approach for TMJ Disorder
At Imperial Dental Associates, we put together a personalized treatment plan that doesn’t just treat your TMJ pain, but also the underlying cause. This is the best way to provide lasting relief.
One of the treatment options we provide is a technique called occlusal adjustment. A marking film is placed between your teeth; we’ll ask you to bite down and move your teeth in specific ways, then look at the variations in markings to see where bite forces are uneven. We adjust the affected teeth using a specialized dental instrument, improving your bite and relaxing the muscles that control your jaw function. Often, a series of appointments is needed to refine these adjustments until symptoms are relieved.
In addition to occlusal adjustment, we will provide you with some self-management strategies and exercises to help ease the tension in your jaw. When you’re experiencing a flare-up of symptoms, cold packs can be applied to the jaw to relieve inflammation; a soft food diet can also help by temporarily reducing the stress on the temporomandibular joints.
Some patients may also benefit from an oral appliance like the Hawley bite plane, which relieves headaches and reduces tooth movements, or a splint to stabilize loose teeth. We can also provide you with a prescription for medications to reduce inflammation or relax your jaw muscles.