Your temporomandibular joint is known as a massive joint that connects your head to your lower jaw. Though flexible, it can “lock up”, causing sharp pain or excessive grinding that is utterly painful to the patient, and often able to stop someone in their tracks to solely focus on the lingering pain.
TMJ is a commonly-diagnosed disorder that effects millions of humans every day. Without fail, untreated TMJ not only causes the anticipated jaw pain, but it can lead to chronic headaches, neck pain, shoulder stiffness and upper back pain. (Oral & Facial Surgery Center, 2014) While minor TMJ discomfort will fade in time, the majority will exhibit discomfort and lingering pain without seeking alternative treatment measures. Consider it almost like a silent jab, increasing with intensity every time you convince yourself it is a phantom pain or non-important to your overall health.
So what does TMJ do to your teeth? It’s all a domino effect, really—when your jaw constantly clenches, shifts and moves in rapid moments, it can shift your teeth over time, causing crowding, overbites, underbites and soon after, gum disease. By treating TMJ, you’ll be relieved of the pain you’ll get from your jaw, easing tension on your teeth and other parts of your facial structure. Here are our best suggestions for treating TMJ at your periodontist’s office:
While most patients turn to physical therapy, it’s good to work with safe injectables such as Botox to be inserted into the masseters to freeze the muscle that is inherently clenching. Any med spa, periodontist or plastic surgery office may be able to provide this quick fix, making it a preference towards patients across the world. You can expect this Botox treatment to last between 2-6 months, depending on the patient and amount required.
Occlusal Appliances, AKA Mouth Guards
Regardless of whether or not you pursue surgery as a fix to your TMJ, you will most likely need to invest in a mouth guard when you sleep at night. This will prevent unnecessary grinding of your teeth when you’re not aware, as well as correct your bite if you’ve been suffering from TMJ for a long time and it has started to shift your teeth.
If your TMJ has persisted to a point of no return, you might want to consider consulting a periodontist or maxillofacial surgeon for proper surgical correction. This might require jaw surgery, in which its goal is to resolve your pain completely by reworking the structural problem in your joint. This means a complete repair or replacement of the joint, which is not the means for every patient with TMJ problems. It is important that no matter the decision, you consult a trusted dental professional before making any decision to correct or rectify your TMJ problem.
Luckily for our TMJ patients out there, there are several options with several price points for your overall comfort. Though it is important to quickly rectify your TMJ problems, it’s imperative that you explore your options before making a decision that isn’t right for you or your pain. For more questions, do not hesitate to contact our office, located in Beverly Hills, California.