Millions of people suffer from TMJ Disorder, a condition caused by a misaligned jaw joint and muscles. Symptoms can include a painful jaw, headaches, crooked teeth, or broken fillings.

Treatment for TMD can alleviate symptoms and prevent further damage. It also improves posture and can reduce pain from clenching.

Orthotics

If you have a misaligned bite, a clicking or grating noise when you open your mouth, or trouble opening your jaw wide you may be experiencing TMD. TMD develops for a variety of reasons including teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism), damage to the jaw joint (TMJ) from trauma or arthritis, or muscle imbalance and pain.

TMD can cause headaches and other symptoms that can affect your quality of life. Fortunately, there are a few treatments that can help alleviate the pain of TMD and reduce your symptoms.

Orthotics are dental appliances that can be used to relieve TMJ symptoms by changing the way your body interacts with your jaws. Using the same principles as foot orthotics, which change the pressure on certain areas of your feet, best TMJ specialist in Houston TX orthotics can take the stress off the joints. This can be an excellent option for patients who are unable to undergo surgery or prefer non-invasive treatment options.

Medications

TMJ problems can cause headaches, jaw pain, dizziness, ringing in the ears and locking of the jaw joint. While home remedies and stress management can help, some people need medication to control their symptoms.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen or naproxen can alleviate pain and control swelling and inflammation. Acetaminophen relieves pain but does not reduce inflammation and should be used sparingly since it can damage the liver.

Muscle relaxants can help patients sleep better and improve their quality of life by reducing TMJ-related pain and discomfort. Tricyclic antidepressants can also be prescribed to help control chronic pain. They function by changing how your brain interprets and reacts to pain signals but they can have mood-altering side effects.

A dentist who has advanced training in treating best TMJ specialist in Houston TX disorders can provide prescription medication to address your specific symptoms. Your doctor can determine if you need a bite plate, splint or guard and recommend other treatments to ease your symptoms.

Surgery

If you’re experiencing severe, painful symptoms that persist or recur even after taking medications, physical therapy or lifestyle changes, your doctor may recommend surgery. It’s important to note that surgical options are typically reserved for the most complex cases of TMJ, such as those with severe jaw dysfunction, comorbid conditions and a diminished quality of life.

TMJ surgery can include arthroscopy and/or open joint surgery. An arthroscopy involves inserting needles into the joint to wash out the joint and remove inflammatory triggers. In some cases, a surgeon may also use these needles to repair the TMJ disk or remove bone spurs. A modified condylotomy (open joint surgery) increases the space within the jaw to prevent locking.

Some patients with best TMJ specialist in Houston TX have a condition called ankylosis, in which the bones of the joint fuse together. In some cases, an oral surgeon can reshape the joint to ease tension and discomfort.

Lifestyle Changes

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can become misaligned or damaged due to trauma, arthritis, certain diseases, teeth grinding, chewing hard foods and yawning. The symptoms of TMJ disorder include jaw pain and sensitivity, headaches, ringing in the ears or dizziness, neck and back pain, and facial pain.

A dentist who specializes in TMJ can help patients find relief from the symptoms through a variety of treatments. These include orthotics such as bite guards, splints or braces, medications to relax the muscles and reduce inflammation, and physical therapy.

Stress reduction techniques like meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises can also reduce TMJ symptoms by decreasing tension in the muscles of the face and neck. A change in diet to avoid hard or chewy foods can prevent the clenching and grinding of the teeth, which is often a response to stress. This can help relieve TMJ symptoms such as pounding headaches, jaw pain and sensitivity, and neck or shoulder pain.