TMD/TMJ TREATMENT BARRIE

Long Term Relief of TMJ Symptoms is Achievable

Balance between your jaw joints, muscles and teeth is crucial to your overall well-being. If there is a dysfunction, you may experience issues that eventually lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). The term TMD and TMJ (temporomandibular joint) are used interchangeably to describe jaw misalignment or malocclusion (bad bite).

 

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TMD

TEMPOROMANDIBULAR JOINT DISORDER

What is TMJ Disorder?
The temporomandibular joint is what connects the lower jaw with the skull. Muscles help the jaw to move down, up, around and sideways. TMD/TMJ is a disorder that results from the jaw moving out of alignment. This usually causes the jaw joints not to work smoothly. When there is misalignment or damage in the TMJ, you may experience several symptoms:

  • Ringing in your ears
  • Migraine-like TMJ/TMD headaches
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Trauma to the jaw joints or muscles in the head or neck
  • Noises from your jaw joints, such as popping or clicking
  • Dizziness
  • Popping or clicking noise from the jaw joints

What Causes TMJ Syndrome?
In most cases, TMJ is caused by a combination of factors like jaw injuries, genetics or preexisting conditions such as periodontal disease, diabetes and arthritis. The most common causes include:

  • Jaw muscle fatigue – this is usually caused by abnormal grinding, function or clenching
  • Disk or cartilage erosion in the jaw joints
  • Stress and anxiety disorders
  • Rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and inflammatory musculoskeletal disorder
  • Misaligned jaw, which leads to overbite, cross-bite or under-bite
  • Trauma to the jaw joints or neck or head muscles
  • Nighttime jaw movements which are related to sleep apnea

What Are The Symptoms Of TMD?

  • Jaw problems – clicking, popping or grinding sounds. Stiffness, lock jaw
  • Face problems – tiredness, pain, swelling
  • Ear problems – ringing, pain, difficulty hearing, fullness
  • Head problems – migraine-like TMJ headaches, dizziness
  • Body problems – pain in the shoulders or neck

The symptoms range from mild to severe. At times you may experience some of these symptoms without having TMJ/TMD. Talking to a medical specialist will help understand the cause of the problem. A dentist that has trained beyond dental school will provide a thorough assessment.

Symptoms of TMD

DISCUSS YOUR DENTISTRY OPTIONS

TMD/TMJ TREATMENT

Causes

Treatment Options for TMD/TMJ
The objective of TMD/TMJ treatment is keeping the jaw aligned and eliminating pain from the muscles. As a result, the symptom you are presenting will provoke the best treatment approach. Several tests will be done to rule out other issues causing the symptoms. Once the root cause is determined, our dentist will treat TMD by identifying the optimal jaw position and then devise a treatment plan that will keep your jaw aligned.

To achieve perfect jaw alignment, the dentist may fabricate a custom oral appliance to test and confirm which posture of the jaw will solve the issue. To achieve permanent results, some cases require the shape of your teeth to be changed. Teeth alignment, dental implants or dental bridges may all be used. In most cases, surgery has proven to be ineffective in treating TMD.

Do you have additional questions about TMJ disorder? Schedule a TMD/TMJ evaluation with our dentists in Barrie. Our team uses digital X-rays, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit and K7 Evaluation System to identify jaw misalignment and determine the best treatment. Call us today to find out more.

Medications
If you have been diagnosed with TMJ dysfunction, your doctor will most likely recommend non-surgical treatments first. The first choice is medication prescribed to help manage pain and swelling. The medication that is prescribed will depend on the symptoms being treated.

Pain relievers and anti-inflammatories
At first, people diagnosed with TMJ dysfunction depend on over-the-counter medications to relieve pain. However, if these medications are not effective, your dentist or doctor may prescribe a stronger pain reliever for a while. Your healthcare provider may prescribe higher doses for pain, such as narcotic analgesics or ibuprofen.

Tricyclic antidepressants
This includes medications such as amitriptyline. These medications are used to treat depression. They are, however, prescribed in low doses. Other medications that may be prescribed include anti-anxiety drugs. These work by relieving stress, which is at times linked to the worsening of TMJ symptoms. Anti-depressants, in low dosage, can help control or reduce pain.

Muscle relaxants
Do you clench or grind your teeth? If you do, this habit might be worsening your TMJ symptoms. To combat this problem, your doctor may prescribe muscle relaxants. These medications can help you relax tight jaw muscles. This helps relieve pain that is caused by muscle spasms.

Anti-anxiety drugs, muscle relaxants, and antidepressants are only available by prescription. Talk to your dentist or doctor to review the suitability of medication in the treatment of TMJ syndrome. Medication may also be used together with other treatments. Surgery is only recommended when other treatments have proven ineffective or may potentially worsen the condition. Generally, experts will recommend the most reversible and conservative treatment possible based on the diagnosis.

Treatment Options for TMD/TMJ

Treatment Options for TMD/TMJ

Therapies
Another non-surgical treatment for TMJ dysfunction is therapies. This is a great option for people looking for non-drug treatments.

Occlusal appliances
This involves the use of oral splints or mouth guards. These are plastic mouthpieces that fit over the upper and lower teeth, keeping the teeth from touching. They work by reducing the effects of grinding or clenching as well as correcting your bite by aligning the teeth to the right position. Night guards are worn at night as you sleep, whereas splints are worn all the time. Your dentist will choose the option that is best for you. Studies have shown that people with jaw pain benefit immensely from wearing firm or soft devices. The reason for the effectiveness of this treatment is not clearly understood.

Physical therapy
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to relieve and help manage TMJ. First, there are many exercises you can do to strengthen and stretch your jaw muscles. Many people also benefit from conservative therapy like resting the jaw or using mouth splints. The success of therapy will depend on how severe your symptoms are as well as how well you comply with the treatment.

Counseling
Did you know that bad habits such as yelling and taking large bites of food can cause or worsen TMJ? Counseling and education will help understand the key factors and behaviors that might be aggravating your pain. Your healthcare provider will make you aware of such bad habits as nail-biting, resting the jaw in the hand, chewing lips and cheeks, and clenching and grinding your teeth. Create a list of all your bad habits and discuss them with your counselor, doctor, or dentist. Doing so helps come up with an effective treatment strategy.

Do you have additional questions about TMJ disorder? Schedule a TMD/TMJ evaluation with our dentists in Barrie. Our team uses digital X-rays, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation unit and K7 Evaluation System to identify jaw misalignment and determine the best treatment. Call us today to find out more.

Surgical or other procedures
Surgery is considered where simple-care practices and conservative treatment have failed. Surgery is thus left as a last resort. It should be considered only after other treatment options have been tried and severe pain still remains. Your doctor may recommend any of the following procedures.

Arthrocentesis
This is a minimally invasive procedure that involves the insertion of tiny needles into the joint. Fluid is irrigated through the joint to get rid of inflammatory byproducts and other debris.

Injections
Some patients benefit from corticosteroid injections into the joint. The injection of botulinum toxin type A (Botox) into the jaw muscles that are used for chewing helps relieve pain associated with TMJ disorder. This must, however, be done infrequently.

TMJ arthroscopy
Arthroscopic surgery is considered to be as effective as open-joint surgery when it comes to treating many types of TMJ disorders. The treatment involves the placement of a cannula (a thin tube) into the joint space. An arthroscope is inserted through the cannula, and a small surgical instrument is used to do the surgery. This procedure has fewer risks than open-joint surgery. It does have limitations.

Modified condylotomy
This treatment addresses TMJ disorder indirectly. Surgery is done on the mandible and not the joint. The surgery helps treat pain and locking.

Open-joint surgery (arthrotomy)
If conservative treatments are ineffective in reducing jaw pain, your problem is most likely caused by structural problems in the joint. In this case, your dentist or doctor will suggest an open-joint surgery. This is done to replace or repair the joint. This surgery has more risk and must, therefore, be considered with care after reviewing all the pros and cons.

Always discuss your options before considering surgery. You should also ask about the benefits and risks if your doctor recommends surgery.

Treatment Options for TMD/TMJ

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At Molson Park Dental Office, we provide family dentistry services. Toronto and Barrie dentist, Dr. Layth works with every child to build trust and comfort through the entire dental visit process.