If you are tired of living with TMJ symptoms, please call 201-546-8512 or email the River Edge Dental Center for TMJ, Sleep Apnea, & Reconstructive Dentistry for an appointment with TMJ dentist Dr. Marlen Martirossian.
Home Remedies for TMJ
Not every case of TMJ needs professional attention. Often, TMJ develops spontaneously and will pass spontaneously. If you develop jaw pain or other TMJ symptoms, you can try many types of home care to relieve them, including:
- Eating soft food
- Icing your jaw (heat may initially seem comforting, but can increase inflammation)
- Taking over-the-counter medications
- Stopping bad habits like chewing on non-food items or using your teeth as tools
In many cases, your TMJ may resolve. However, if your symptoms persist for more than a week or if pain doesn’t respond to over-the-counter medications, you should seek professional care.
Diagnosing TMJ requires a thorough approach. We have to distinguish it from other conditions that might present similar symptoms. First, we will listen to your description of your symptoms, take a complete medical history, and perform a complete examination of your jaw. Next, we may use TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) to relax tense jaw muscles so that we can examine your jaw’s motion independent of habits your muscles may have acquired due to TMJ. We will use computerized jaw tracking, sound analysis, and measurement of muscle activity to get a good idea about the state and motion of your jaw. Posture Pro posture analysis will help us understand how TMJ might be impacting the rest of your body.
Computerized bite measurements using T-Scan will help us understand how the forces in your bite are balanced (or imbalanced), and imaging like x-rays, ultrasound, MRI, and CT scans are often necessary to help us understand the state of your jaw.
These tests are noninvasive and pain-free, but they will give us a complete picture of the state of your jaw system.
Temporary TMJ Treatments
For some people whose TMJ is just related to muscle tension, periodic TENS treatments may be all that’s necessary to stop TMJ symptoms.
For other people, we may need a TMJ treatment that helps stabilize the jaw in a position that is more conducive to healthy movements. This is often accomplished with a bite splint or orthotic, a plastic guard that helps hold your jaw in a harmonious position for the jaw joint and muscles. The bit splint may be removable or fixed.
A removable orthotic may need to be worn all day at first, but often you can get adequate results just wearing it at night. A fixed orthotic is worn at all times, until it is removed to make way for more permanent TMJ treatments.
Permanent TMJ Treatment
One approach to achieving permanent results for your TMJ is myofunctional therapy. Myofunctional therapy focuses on retraining your muscles to eliminate bad habits. Since these bad habits perpetuate the dysfunction of your jaw joints, myofunctional therapy can provide permanent relief from TMJ. It can even reshape your jaw, improving the appearance of your smile and profile. And people often experience improvement of sleep apnea as well.
If we get good results with the orthotic but you want to make those results more permanent, potentially restoring worn or damaged teeth at the same time, we might recommend reconstructive dentistry. Dental crowns can be used to build your teeth up so that they hold you jaw in the same position as the orthotic.
If we are not getting good results with the orthotic, we might recommend surgical TMJ treatment, which is sometimes necessary for jaw joints that have been significantly damaged.
To learn more about TMJ treatment options, and which one might be right for you, please call 201-546-8512 or email the River Edge Dental Center for TMJ, Sleep Apnea, & Reconstructive Dentistry.