Understanding the Different Treatments for Your TMJ

Understanding the Different Treatments for Your TMJ

Studies show that about 10 million Americans suffer from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, with it being more common in women than in men.

At The Smile Agency in Pasadena and West Covina, California, Karen Guinn, DDS leads our team with expertise and experience in treating TMJ problems.

Your temporomandibular joint has a hinge that slides your jaw open and closed with non-load-bearing surrounding tissues. The unique makeup of these components are controlled by muscles, which can create complex movement.

When you have a disorder of your jaw joint and muscles, you can suffer from myofascial pain, internal derangement, or arthritis. You can experience other symptoms, as well.

Unfortunately, the causes of most TMJ disorders haven’t been determined. 

You might have TMJ dysfunction if you experience:

  1. Facial pain
  2. Frequent headaches
  3. Tenderness in your jaw
  4. Locking of your joint
  5. Pain in or around your ear
  6. Difficulty with chewing

You might also hear a clicking or popping sound when you open or close your mouth. 

If your TMJ condition doesn’t cause pain, you most likely don’t need treatment. However, if you experience consistent pain, Dr. Guinn can advise you on treatments.

There are quite a few ways to treat TMJ — some, you can practice on your own, and others require medical assistance and supervision. 

Dr. Guinn assesses your condition and works with you to determine what might work best for you. 

Treatments include:

To ease your TMJ symptoms on your own, you can:

  1. Practice techniques to reduce stress
  2. Avoid foods that are difficult to chew
  3. Apply ice when feeling pain
  4. Keep your jaw relaxed by not clenching

You should also avoid opening your mouth too wide or chewing gum to protect your jaw from extreme movements.

To relieve your pain, we can prescribe medications, such as:

  1. Anti-inflammatories to lessen the source of your pain
  2. Pain relievers to ease your discomfort
  3. Muscle relaxants to calm muscle spasms
  4. Tricyclic antidepressants for bruxism and sleeplessness

You can also try over-the-counter pain medications first. If you don’t have success, then prescriptions might be a better option.

Our TENS therapy sends electrical impulses to your face and jaw muscles to help them relax, alleviate tension, and reduce pain.

Botox injections can reduce the muscle movements in your jaw, relieving you of tension that can lead to TMJ dysfunction.

A night guard is an oral appliance that fits over your upper or lower teeth. You wear it while you’re sleeping to stabilize your bite, prevent clenching and grinding, and reduce jaw pain.

If you suffer from TMJ problems, schedule an appointment at our friendly practice at either location, or use the online booking tool today. If you have any questions before your visit, send us a message, and we’ll be happy to answer you.