Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ)
What is the best treatment for TMJ dysfunction?
The treatment of TMJ dysfunction is best managed by specialists with advanced training in jaw and bite disorders and often involves a multidisciplinary approach and a team of specialists.
Treatment may involve a combination of medication, physical therapy, custom made splints and bite guards to be worn at night and in some cases, surgery.
TMJ disorders are complex.It is important for specialists with extensive training in jaw and bite disorders and malocclusions (bad bites) to carefully assess the underlying causes of the disorder and develop an individualized treatment plan to provide the most effective relief.
Treatment of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, also known as temporomandibular joint disorders (TMD), typically involves a combination of approaches. The specific treatment plan will depend on the underlying cause of the dysfunction and the severity of the symptoms.
The immediate goal of treatment of TMD is to relieve pain and discomfort. An evaluation of the cause of the pain is important.
Adjunctive treatment may include over-the-counter or prescription pain medication, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or muscle relaxants. In some cases, local injection of anesthetic, corticosteroid medication or Botox into the musculature may be used to provide targeted relief.
Custom Made Splints
If the pain and dysfunction is due to a malocclusion (bad bite) and the TMJ condyles are not in their optimal positions, a specifically designed custom made removable splint can be made, to be worn at night, to help position the condyles anatomically in their physiologically optimal positions.
If jaw clenching or grinding (bruxism) is a contributing factor, a specifically designed bite splint or night guard can be prescribed, to be worn at night to help prevent, control and manage parafunctional habits.
If the underlying cause of the dysfunction is due to the misalignment of the teeth and this can be corroborated, orthodontic treatment can correct the jaw and bite misalignment.
Physical therapy is an effective adjunctive modality for TMD treatment. This can include myofunctional therapy and exercises to improve the strength and flexibility of the muscles of the jaw and face, as well as techniques to promote relaxation and reduce stress.
In severe cases of TMD, surgery may be necessary to repair or replace the damaged structures of the TMJ. This may include procedures such as disc plication,arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, or open joint surgery. Fortunately, surgery is seldom necessary and is considered a last resort.