TMJ Treatment Options
TMJ treatment can actually take many forms, depending on the type and stage of your condition. Some are more effective than others, however. Here are some of the commonly used TMJ treatment options available:
- Home Care
- Physical Therapy, chiropractic, and counseling
- Oral Appliances
- Reconstructive Dentistry
This is roughly in the order that people tend to try them. However, the progression of each person’s condition is different, so your treatment might be different, too.
Home care is a good first step in treating TMJ. In fact, for most cases of TMJ, this might be all that’s necessary. We give some good tips for home care on our page about it.
However, it’s important to remember that home care is only effective for certain types of TMJ. Relying on it too much can lead to serious joint damage in the future that requires more treatment. You should stop home care and seek professional attention if symptoms:
- Persist for more than seven (7) days
- Worsen under home care
- Don’t respond to over-the-counter medication at recommended doses
- Include locked jaw: never force your jaw open or closed
We can try to schedule a faster appointment for people with more urgent TMJ-related concerns.
Physical Therapy, Chiropractic Care, and Counseling
There are many types of therapy that can be helpful in treating TMJ. Physical therapy can help you loosen tight, sore muscles. Chiropractic care can help align your vertebrae to reduce neck pain and back pain. Counseling can help you address the psychological and stress component of TMJ.
However, these types of treatment are not usually effective on their own. We work well as part of a team effort to fully control your TMJ using multiple approaches, as is sometimes necessary.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Oral appliance therapy is the most effective treatment for most types of TMJ. An oral appliance works like a mouthguard that you wear to hold your jaw in a comfortable resting position. This reduces the tension in your jaw and protects you from TMJ symptoms. At first, you might start out wearing your appliance all day, but eventually you might switch to wearing it just at night.
Some people take medications to help control TMJ symptoms. This might include over-the-counter pain-relievers or it can include muscle relaxants, botox injections, and even prescription painkillers.
In general, medications should be seen as a short-term treatment and shouldn’t be relied on for long-term relief of your symptoms.
Sometimes surgery is a good treatment option for TMJ. Minor surgeries like laparoscopic efforts to clean out damaged tissue from the jaw joint can help improve function and reduce discomfort.
However, jaw replacement surgery is risky and has a low odds of success. It should be considered a treatment of last resort, and it’s important to use other TMJ treatments early to avoid resorting to surgery later.
Successful Treatment Start with Accurate Diagnosis
Although many different types of treatment can help with TMJ, finding out which one will work best for you depends on first getting an accurate diagnosis of your condition. Dr. Stafford uses the latest techniques and technology to provide patients with the best available diagnosis. To start your process of diagnosis, please call (920) 563-7323 today for an appointment at Bite Align, serving patients across Jefferson County from our office in Fort Atkinson.