Treatment of the TMJ disorder depends upon the cause. For that proper diagnosis is made. First of all dentist tries to find out the causative factor, if the causative factor is some high filling or some problem in occlusion then that is removed. Surgery is done only when no other option is left.
First of all the dentist tries to eliminate the muscle spasm or pain by applying moist heat or ice on the face, by prescribing muscle relaxing medication or ointments and pain medications, by massaging the muscles and asking the patient to take soft, non-chewy diet.
If the cause of TMJ disorder is the stress, then patient counseling is beneficial..It helps the patient to become aware of stressful situations.When the patient is under stress he either grinds his teeth or clenches the jaw causing muscle spasm.
Correcting the way the upper teeth meet the lower teeth (correcting the occlusion)
If the reason of TMJ disorder is the abnormal occlusion then that is corrected either by selective grinding or doing the orthodontic treatment (braces). Sometimes the dentist goes for occlusal bite plates or splints also so that the teeth do not make contact at all.
It is recommended when the muscles are in spasm for too long and the damage is permanent or the joint is damaged by trauma. When the dentist feels that the conservative approach is not going to be effective at that time surgery is done. Surgery is done as a last resort. Surgery is primarily for patients who are born with or develop jaw malformations and patients with arthritis who have loose fragments of bone or require condyle reshaping.TMJ arthroscopy, ligament tightening, joint restructuring, and joint replacement are considered in the most cases of joint damage or deterioration.
Replacement of the temporomandibular joint with an artificial implant should be considered as a last resort. When used in patients who have had multiple prior jaw surgeries it may improve function, but studies have shown that it generally does not significantly reduce pain. Before undergoing such surgery on the jaw joint, it is extremely important to get other independent opinions and to fully understand the benefits and risks.
Depending upon the type of TMJ disorder you are having, the treatment is recommended. Treatment includes jaw rest, application of heat and ice to relieve pain, taking anti-inflammatory medication or physiotherapy for the muscles of face which includes stretching or relaxing the muscles. You are also expected to change your life style if it is quite stressful and is aggravating the condition. You can learn stress reducing techniques. You are expected to change your food habits like avoid eating chewing gum, hard to chew food and you should avoid opening your mouth too wide (wide yawning or loud singing). The basic aim of all the treatment is to give maximum rest to the joint.
So if one follows the doctor`s recommendation then in most of the cases surgery can be avoided and the TMJ joint problem can be treated.
Scientists at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research wrote recently
“Less is often best in treating TMJ disorders.”
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