TMJ Treatment

TMJ Treatment

What is TMJ?

TMJ or temporomandibular joint is a hinge joint that connects the jaw to the skull bone. It is the TMJ that allows opening and closing motions of your jaw, along with sideways movement. All the things you do with your mouth like biting, chewing, talking, yawning, laughing etc are all because of the TMJ.
Whenever there is a problem with the mechanism of the TMJ or the muscles associated with it, issues like headaches, facial pain and inability to open the mouth properly may arise.
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What causes TMD?

Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) could be due to a variety of reasons. These include:
Problems in the mechanism of the TMJ (such as displacement of the joint disk forwards or backwards within the joint space, improper fitting or position of the jaw bone)
An improper bite
Habits like teeth clenching or teeth grinding
Existing bone disease like osteoarthritis or osteoporosis
Stress that frequently causes individuals to tighten or clench their facial muscles

TMJ Symptoms?

Signs of a Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) may include:
Pain in the temple & ear region which may be referred to the lower jaws
Soreness or tenderness of the jaw muscles
Restricted jaw opening
Clicking or popping sounds on jaw opening or closing
Shoulder or neck pains
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Am I suitable to get this treatment?

Yes, anybody can get the treatment for TMD. However, only a proper consultation with our oral surgeon will be able to tell if you are suitable. They will evaluate various factors like age, medical and dental history, contributing factors to the condition and anything else that might affect your treatment process.

What is the treatment process for TMJ?

A thorough physical examination of your jaw and associated structures will be conducted on the first appointment. Our dentists will check the range of your jaw movements and if there is any pain, tenderness, or clicking and popping sounds in the TMJ. Multiple X-rays may be taken of your joint area which may include CT scans, ultrasound or MRI, whichever scan your doctor seems most fit for your condition.

In case your TMJ problems are because of an improper bite, you might have to undergo orthodontic treatment to get the correct bite and teeth alignment. If an incorrect bite is left untreated, it will exaggerate your TMJ pain.

Acupuncture therapy involves inserting fine needles into “trigger points” in your facial muscles to relieve muscle tension and soreness. It also helps reduce muscle pain, swelling and spasms.

Other treatment options available are ultrasound therapy, radio-wave therapy or laser therapy.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation therapy utilizes small electrical currents to relax or massage your jaw muscles. During the procedure, tiny electrodes deliver tingling sensations to your jaw which reduces the perception of pain. TENS also stimulates the release of endorphins- which are the body’s own pain-relieving chemicals. TENS is a great non-invasive treatment option for TMD. A session of TENS therapy lasts for 30-60 mins.

Most surgical procedures for TMD are performed under general anaesthesia ie you will be put into a deep sleep where you won’t be able to feel any pain during the procedure. Depending on the type of problem you have with your TMJ, you can have

  • Arthrocentesis- The dental surgeon will inject liquids into your joint space to wash it out, clear any bone chips or fragments, relieve pressure within the joint and also facilitate smooth movement of the joint. Pain-relieving medication may be deposited in the joint space. Usually, two needles are used: one to deposit the liquids and one to remove the liquids.
  • Arthroscopy- In this procedure, the small cut will be made in the skin and a small tube attached to a video camera will be inserted into the joint space for better visualization of the problem. The surgeon can then remove inflamed tissue, flush out the joint or adjust the parts of the joint to fix your TMD.
  • Open Joint Surgery- This is the most invasive procedure that requires making a cut in your ear region to fully visualize your joint space. The required adjustments are made to the joint and then the area is sutured up

Once all diagnostic procedures have been completed, an impression of your teeth will be taken. A custom dental appliance will then be fabricated in the lab for you.

Treatment for Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) is not a single or one-step process. It requires a comprehensive approach involving different treatment modalities.

  1. Lifestyle modifications & Home therapies
    Individuals with TMD are advised to apply lifestyle modifications and home therapies that may contribute to the overall treatment process
    – Avoidance of hard foods or foods that require a lot of chewing
    – Refraining from excessive mouth opening like yawning, singing or yelling
    – Stress management
    – Physical therapy like jaw exercises & massages
    – Hot and cold compresses
  2. Pain medication
    Your dentist will first manage the TMJ pain and associated headaches with pain medication. OTC pain relief drugs like ibuprofen or paracetamol are usually not strong enough to relieve TMJ pain. Therefore, you may be prescribed muscle relaxants for relaxing the jaw and facial muscles, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain and inflammation or low dose anti-anxiety & antidepressants for pain relief.
  3. Orthodontic correction
    In case your TMJ problems are because of an improper bite, you might have to undergo orthodontic treatment to get the correct bite and teeth alignment. If an incorrect bite is left untreated, it will exaggerate your TMJ pain.
  4. Appliance therapy
    Dental appliances like splits or mouth guards may be given to you for controlling your teeth clenching and grinding habits. They prevent the upper and lower teeth from meeting and may also help in correcting the bite. Splints are to be worn all day whereas mouth guards are to be worn at night.
  5. Surgery
    If you require a more reliable or permanent treatment, then surgery is the best option for correcting your Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD). Different surgical options are available depending on what the cause of your TMD is. The most commonly performed surgeries are arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, and total open joint surgery.

More Questions about TMJ?

TMS treatment is usually covered by health insurance providers, but do check with your insurance provider first.

OTC pain-relieving medications like paracetamol and ibuprofen may not be enough to relieve your TMJ jaw pain. You may ask your doctor to prescribe muscle relaxants, stronger dose pain medications or tricyclic low dosage antidepressants to help in pain relief. Jaw exercises and massages to strengthen the jaw muscles, as well as alternating hot and cold compresses, may help to get rid of the pain. Steroid injections into the TMJ joint space and other surgical options can also be pursued for severe TMJ jaw pain.

You can try taking pain medication, stress reduction, physical therapies like alternating hot & cold compresses and jaw exercises, and dental bite guards or other elective procedures like TENS, acupuncture and laser therapy.

How much is TMJ Treatment?

At Susan Crean Denal & Facial Aesthetics we offer a wide selection of dental treatments provided by some of the best dental staff in Tralee, each treatment designed to meet the individual needs of our patients. Working with your dentist to meet your dental health goals, you’ll find that there is always something to smile about. Our prices are competitive and our services top notch. Review our competitive price chart below. Book your appointment online. You can call our Tralee clinic at 0667117577.
You only get one set of teeth, Ensure a healthy mouth with healthy teeth and gums. Routine check-up appointments and professional cleanings with your dentist will help to keep small concerns from escalating into more serious dental problems.

Price List : General Dental Treatments

Check-up with x-ray : €70
Check-up without x-ray : €40
check-up (child <16years) : €30
Additional x-rays : €15 ea
OPG x-rays : €65 ea
PRSI - Scale & Polish & Cancer Screening : €15 (one per year)
Emergency Consultation (inc x-ray & prescription) : €65
Emergency Endodontic Treatment : €65

Price List : Orthodontic Treatments

Orthodontic Assessment : FREE
Invisalign : €3,000/€4,000
Fixed Braces : €3,500/€4,000
Six Month Braces : from €1,750

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Alternative Treatments

We offer a wide range of General Dental Treatments, below are some related treatments that you may be interested in

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I had my first appointment at Susan Crean Dental,and also the wonderful hygienist. Susan and all the staff are very experienced, and so welcoming ,very understanding if you feel in any way anxious. My son had also attended here,and finds them all so nice. Excellent service . Thank you all. You deserve all those wonderful awards. ?

Sandra Finn Avatar Sandra Finn
December 16, 2022

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