Your temporomandibular joints are some of the most important joints in your whole body. These joints allow for the movement of your mouth, enabling you to eat and speak. When they become injured or irritated, how they work is affected significantly, and can leave you in extreme pain. Unlike other joints in your body, you cannot easily rest these joints. At Tim Perry, DDS, we can help you to get the relief you need.
Are You Living with Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
The temporomandibular joint is more commonly called TMJ. TMJ is also the term used to refer to temporomandibular joint disorder, a condition that affects how these joints, and your mouth in general, work. In addition to impacting functionality, it can also lead to significant pain. Everyday functions, like eating become difficult and painful. For those with more significant TMJ, the slightest movements can feel almost impossible.
Treating Mild TMJ/TMD at Home
Those with mild TMJ can often find relief without any professional treatment. There are many ways that you can go about dealing with your TMJ discomfort at home. Common treatments include practicing jaw exercises to work the muscle and gently massaging the joints. For some, heat and ice can help to alleviate swelling and pain. Over the counter pain medications may also be helpful. If using any medications, be sure to take them only as directed.
Dental Interventions for TMJ/TMD
If your TMJ is more significant, and you do not find relief with home treatments, there are professional treatments that may be able to help. One way that we can help you to alleviate your discomfort is with a mouth guard that you wear while you sleep. Also called a nightguard, this is an oral appliance not much different from a mouthguard you would wear while playing sports. It works by absorbing the pressures that you exert while grinding and clenching, which can then help to protect your joints from irritation.
Another treatment used for dealing with bruxism involves Botox injections. You may also be recommended treatment with a TENS unit or even acupuncture. Based on your unique needs, we can help to figure out what the best course of action will be.
Surgical Treatment Options
For those with severe TMJ, regular treatments are not enough. In cases where no other treatments have worked, you may be recommended to undergo oral surgery. Oral surgery may also be recommended in very severe cases of TMJ. Based on your situation, we can help to determine the best type of surgery to meet your needs. Surgical treatments include arthroscopy, arthrocentesis, and open jaw surgery.
Arthroscopy and arthrocentesis are both considered to be minimally invasive procedures. Open jaw surgery is more invasive and involves opening up the entire joint to examine it and provide you with the treatment you need. In some cases, total joint replacement may be necessary.
The right treatment for your TMJ/TMD can help to put a stop to your pain and restore the functions of your temporomandibular joints to normal. For more information, and to schedule your appointment, call Tim Perry, DDS at (318) 322-0576 today.