Hot/cold therapy & manipulation: Another popular treatment for TMD involves hot/cold therapy and manipulation. Ice packs, moist heat, and gentle manipulation can help to relax tight muscles. Your dentist will be able to recommend some physical therapy exercises to do after hot/cold applications, to help alleviate pain and stiffness caused by TMD.
Splints: Splints are designed to fit over the teeth and prevent them from coming together, making it very difficult for you to clench or grind them. Vero Dental Spa will be able to advise you if a splint is right for you, and if so, when and for how long you should wear one.
Medicine: There are multiple over-the-counter and prescription medicines that may help to reduce the symptoms associated with TMD. These include Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety drugs.
TENS: Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, otherwise known as TENS, is commonly used to relieve tightness and pain in the back during labor, but in fact, TENS can be just as useful for TMD pain. It uses low levels of electrical current to relax the muscles and alleviate pain.
Trigger-point injections: In this type of treatment, your dentist injects pain relief directly into the affected facial muscles. Once the pain relief has begun to work, your dentist will then support you while you perform some simple exercises to help stretch your jaw muscles.
Surgery: Surgery is usually only performed when all other treatment options have been tried and the patient is still suffering from functional difficulties and persistent pain. However, in rare cases, if your TMD is due to a degenerative disease, your dentist or doctor may recommend surgery as the only viable option to treat your condition.
There are two main surgeries used as part of TMJ therapy. These are known as arthroscopy and open joint surgery. Both involve an incision being made in front of the ear, but while arthroscopy uses a small thin video lead to examine the TMJ through a tiny incision, open joint surgery involves operating on the joint in direct vision, thus requiring a bigger opening. Both require general anesthetic and some recovery time, but scarring is almost always minimal.
If you have any further questions or concerns regarding TMJ therapy, speak to contact Vero Dental Spa today and we will be happy to advise you.