TMJ SYMPTOMS & TREATMENT LOS ANGELES
TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorders are seemingly a cycle of problems associated with your jaw joint. Luckily, if you have been in pain or have experienced a “clicking” noise from your jaw, these issues are easily diagnosable and treated. These symptoms may occur if the muscles you use to chew (muscles of mastication) do not work in unison with the joints of the jaw. Temporomandibular joint, more commonly known as TMJ, is the name for your right and left joint that connects your jaw to your skull.
It is vital to detect these issues and seek treatment for them early on, for some types of TMJ problems can cause more serious conditions.
One specific treatment is not available to completely resolve TMJ disorders. In order to see results with treatment, it takes time. However, of Dr. Dean Salo is here to help you have a comfortable and healthy jaw.
TROUBLE WITH YOUR JAW?
There is not necessarily one factor that causes TMJ disorders. If you tighten your jaw muscles, grind or clench your teeth, or stress your TM joint, you may be contributing to the development of TMJ. Your jaw joint may be damaged due to disease or injury. Arthritis and certain injuries may directly damage the joint or cause the muscle ligaments to tear or stretch. This can cause the cartilage disk, which acts as a “cushion” of the jaw, to slip out of place. The outcome could be pain, clicking, a misaligned bite, or trouble with widely opening your mouth, no matter what the cause is.
DO YOU HAVE A TMJ DISORDER?
- Do you consciously grind or clench your teeth?
- Are the muscles around your jaw stiff when you wake up?
- Do you experience frequent headaches or neck aches?
- If you clench your teeth do you experience more pain?
- Does clenching and pain worse when you are stressed?
- When you open your mouth does your jaw pop, click, grate, lock, or catch?
- Is it difficult to open your mouth, yawn, or eat?
- Have you ever had a neck, jaw, or head injury?
- Have you experienced issues with other joints (such as arthritis)?
- When you bite, do you have teeth that do not touch?
- Do your teeth meet inconsistently?
- Do you have difficulty using your front teeth to tear or tear bite?
- Do your teeth feel loose, sensitive, broken or worn?
You are more likely to have a TJMJ disorder if you answered “yes” to more than one of these questions. If you have an understanding of TMJ, then you will be better equipped to treat the disorder.
Dr. Salo has an array of options available help improve the overall function of your jaw. After an evaluation determines a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, Dr. Salo will determine the appropriate form of treatment. A team approach consisting of professional care and self-care always works.
Our first goal is to alleviate any muscle spasms or pain in your joint. We can do this with an anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant, or pain reliever. In order to reduce inflammation and pain, steroids can be injected into the jaw joint.
There are also TMJ treatments you can do that deem effective as well. They include:
- Keeping your jaw rested
- Not keeping your teeth together while you are eating or swallowing
- Eating foods that are soft
- Application of an ice or heat pack
- Making an effort to exercise your jaw
- Trying to practice good posture
Physical therapy and biofeedback can be effective stress management techniques. A splint, otherwise known as a nightguard, can also be effective. It is placed over the top or bottom teeth and keeps the teeth apart, which in turn relaxes the muscles and reduces pain. A nightguard could be suggested for those who clench or grind their teeth. Wearing a nightguard can help reduce any muscle tension and protect the joint surfaces and cartilage.
Another option would be an anterior positioning appliance. This works by moving your jaw forward and relieving pressure on areas of your jaw while helping the disk reposition. To help heal your jaw, you can wear it 24 hours/day. Orthotic stabilization appliances may also be worn all day or only at night to help move your jaw into the correct position. Appliances can also help protect your tooth from wear.
PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR TMJ
Because TMJ is a joint is just like any other joint in the human body, it can sometimes become inflamed. Dr. Salo and his well-trained staff are able to treat the TMJ joint with exceptional care. TMJ therapy is available, such as TMJ injections for inflammation or Cold Laser Sessions. When necessary, hand selected TMJ trained physical therapists in the area are available for us to work who help with further physical therapy modalities.
WHAT ABOUT BITE CORRECTION OR SURGERY?
A bite adjustment (equilibration), restorative dental work, or orthodontics with jaw reconstruction may be necessary if your TMJ disorder has resulted in problems with the way your teeth fit together. Options that require surgery, such as open joint repair restructuring or arthroscopy are sometimes necessary but are only available for severe cases. TMJ surgery is typically not considered by Dr. Salo unless the jaw cannot be opened, has severe degeneration, is dislocated, or the patient has undergone appliance and physical therapy treatment unsuccessfully.