Our office sees numerous patients who struggle with temporomandibular joint pain. Many have suffered for years and hold little hope that our dentists can help treat this disorder. We would like to offer encouragement to those who endure that pain; temporomandibular joint pain is treatable.
Your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is located on either side of your head, just below each ear, and connects your jawbone to your skull. To work, the TMJ merges a hinge motion with gliding movements. This action allows you to open and close your jaws. There are many reasons patients experience temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD) some are genetically predisposed to problems, others suffer because of arthritis in the joint, and some people develop problems after an accident involving the face. Occasionally, our TMJ dentist sees patients with no apparent cause for their pain.
There is hope for patients who have TMJ disorder. Our dental office in Huntington Beach offers helpful treatments to relieve pain and swelling. There are three treatment categories: medications, non-drug therapies, and surgical (or other) procedures.
Often, our TMJ patients get little or no relief from over the counter pain relievers. This is when our dentist prescribes stronger medications such as prescription strength non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Occasionally, our dentist prescribes muscle relaxing medications. These are generally for short-term use.
These treatments often include a regimen which alternates moist heat and ice as well as jaw exercises to strengthen the muscles. Sometimes, patients benefit from mouth guards which they wear at night. The belief is that these prevent teeth grinding and jaw clenching during sleep.
SURGICAL OR OTHER PROCEDURES:
Surgical intervention is the last course of action for our TMJ patients. Prior to open-joint surgery, our dentist will use other options such as corticosteroid injections. Additionally, our dentist may use arthrocentesis, a treatment where a small needle injects fluid into the joint clearing away debris. Arthroscopic surgery and open-joint surgery are used to correct structural problems with the temporomandibular joint.
If you struggle with TMJ disorder, do not despair, contact our office to learn specific ways we can help you.