The joint which connects your skull and jaw is known as the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Teeth grinding, excessive gum chewing, misalignment of the jaw or teeth and injuries can, at times, lead to disorders in this joint. TMJ disorders are characterized by extreme pain around your jaw with any movement.
An accurate diagnosis of TMJ disorder by an orthodontist in Stafford such as Southpoint Quality Dental is essential for successful treatment. Conservative treatment using non-surgical methods is the first option, as the pain might lessen over time.
Here are the typical non-surgical methods used in TMJ disorder treatment.
A mouth or bite guard, or orthotic device, is a plastic appliance customized to fit your upper and lower teeth. It provides pain relief and discourages bad habits including nail biting, and clenching and grinding of teeth, which would aggravate your TMJ symptoms. An orthotic device also helps in jaw realignment and adjustment to its natural position. Mouth guards for night and day use are available on the market.
Most instances of TMJ pain are a result of a bad bite or malocclusion. If these are the causes of your pain, an orthodontist might recommend bite adjustment. The procedure involves reshaping your teeth’s biting surfaces to eliminate excessive pressure when biting. This is often advised if a mouth guard does not relieve your symptoms.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy refers to a painless treatment used to relieve TMJ pain. It causes your facial and jaw muscles to relax and contract in a specific sequence, hence, eliminating tension. TENS allows your jaw to rest in a naturally comfortable position. It is used in combination with other TMJ therapies.
If non-surgical therapy options fail in relieving your TMJ pain, surgery is the ideal treatment. An orthodontist might also recommend surgery as the best option in particular instances. These include cases where your TMJ disorder results from severe arthritis, internal derangement or disc disease.