How Do You Treat TMJ and Can You Cure it Permanently?

TMJ is shorthand for the temporomandibular joint and refers to the joints on your lower jaw that connect your jaw to your skull. Disorders in the TMJ are quite common. Ranging from mild to severe, TMJ disorders need treatment from an experienced dentist that specializes in treating TMJ problems. Read on to learn about treatments that may cure TMJ permanently.

Types of TMJ Disorders

There are three main types of TMJ disorder, based on the cause of the problem. Individuals who grind or clench their teeth (a condition known as bruxism) are likely to experience myofascial pain as a result. Pain may extend through the jaw, face, and neck. 

Arthritis in the temporomandibular joints is another form of TMJ disorder. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriatic arthritis may affect the TMJ, just as it can affect other joints such as your hips, knees, shoulders, etc. Arthritis is a progressive, degenerative disease, which is very common, but fortunately often responds well to treatment.

Joint derangement is also responsible for problems with the TMJ. Joint derangement occurs when a disc in the joint is displaced. This is often caused by an injury or accident that results in facial or jaw trauma. Surgery may be required to treat dental or facial trauma.

Treatments for TMJ

The treatment you’ll need to alleviate discomfort from TMJ will depend upon what is causing it, and how severe the disorder has become. Teeth grinding and clenching are often treated nonsurgically with a custom mouthguard. The mouth guard is worn at night to prevent you from exerting damaging force to the joint and jaw.

Medications may also be prescribed to help with flare-ups of TMJ. These may include over-the-counter pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medication. Prescription medications including muscle relaxants may also be necessary to treat TMJ. 

You may also be advised to use a cold compress, stick with a soft food diet, and utilize other self-management techniques. If your TMJ is flaring up due to stress, your periodontist may work with you on stress management techniques to alleviate the symptoms.

In some cases, other nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy or various injections may help to reduce pain caused by TMJ disorders.

In severe cases, surgery may be required. Surgery is the last result and will only be considered if all conservative treatments have failed and TMJ issues are affecting your ability to eat, work, and live a quality life. 

Can TMJ Be Cured?

Some TMJ disorders may be permanently cured. Pain stemming from clenching and grinding your teeth can often be cured with stress management, and/or an oral mouthguard. Severe TMJ stemming from a dislocated jaw, or a dislocated disc may be resolved with oral appliances and, if needed, surgery. TMJ caused by arthritis typically can’t be cured, as arthritis is a progressive, degenerative disease. But symptoms of TMJ due to arthritis can usually be successfully managed.

Learn More About TMJ Disorders and Treatments

If you’re suffering from any type of pain in your jaw, teeth, or gums, schedule an appointment with Marc E. Gordon, DMD, PC today. Dr. Gordon at Progressive Periodontics and Implant Dentistry has been named a top periodontist in New Jersey multiple times. He sees patients at his offices in Eatontown and Howell.  

Eatontown Office:  732-389-3400

Howell Office:          732-364-2025