Can You Treat TMJ Permanently?
Do you wake up to jaw pain, headaches, and an audible clicking or popping sound when chewing or opening your mouth? If that is the case for you, chances are, you are one of the millions of Americans suffering from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ).
While traditional treatments such as pain medication offer temporary relief, there are alternative therapies that can address the source of TMJ for long-term effects.
Read on to learn about the symptoms, treatment options, and tips for finding permanent solutions for TMJ.
Temporomandibular joint disorder, more commonly referred to as TMJ, is a condition that affects the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull.
TMJ affects millions of Americans each year - an estimated 10 million cases have been estimated across all 50 states alone. While its exact causes remain unknown, potential factors could include genetics, previous jaw injuries, arthritis, and teeth grinding.
TMJ can manifest through a variety of symptoms that differ for each individual. Common symptoms include:
- Jaw pain or tenderness, particularly in the joint area or surrounding muscles. This is one of the most prevalent symptoms.
- Headaches, often felt in the temples or behind the eyes, that may occur frequently.
- Clicking or popping noises when opening or closing the mouth. These sounds may be accompanied by pain.
- Difficulty chewing or biting down, leading to discomfort and limited food options.
- Ear pain or sensations of fullness in the ear, even without an ear infection present.
Traditional treatments for TMJ
Traditional treatments for TMJ include medications, physical therapy, oral appliances, and stress management techniques. More specifically:
Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen may temporarily relieve discomfort. Muscle relaxants may be prescribed to alleviate muscle tension. Physical therapy employing jaw exercises, heat/cold therapy, and massage are designed to improve mobility while decreasing pain levels.
Custom-fit oral splints or mouthguards prescribed by dentists may help stop teeth grinding and clenching to alleviate symptoms, while stress management through relaxation techniques and cognitive-behavioral therapy helps combat stress that contributes to TMJ issues.
While such options may offer temporary relief to some patients suffering from TMJ dysfunction, they generally fail to offer lasting solutions and thus many sufferers continue seeking more permanent approaches that fully address the source of their discomfort.
Alternative treatments for TMJ
Alternative treatments for temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) aim to address underlying causes and provide lasting relief rather than temporary solutions. These include:
Acupuncture, which inserts thin needles into specific body points, can release jaw muscle tension and reduce TMJ pain.
Chiropractic adjustments help realign the spine and jaw joint to alleviate pressure and discomfort.
Herbal remedies like turmeric, ginger, and magnesium have anti-inflammatory properties that can decrease TMJ inflammation and pain.
Biofeedback increases awareness of muscle tension and teaches control of it, helping manage TMJ symptoms from tension and stress.
These more holistic treatment approaches for TMJ focus on resolving root sources of dysfunction in the joints and muscles. Many patients have found long-term success with alternatives compared to traditional short-term relief methods.
Permanent solutions for TMJ
While traditional and alternative treatments may provide some relief, finding a permanent solution for TMJ typically requires a multifaceted approach with various strategies:
Addressing underlying causes like bruxism or stress through lifestyle changes, stress management, or dental interventions can help prevent recurring symptoms.
Ongoing physical therapy sessions and targeted exercises can improve jaw mobility, strengthen muscles, and prevent further joint damage.
Customized treatment plans developed with TMJ specialists address individual needs and provide long-term solutions.
A multidisciplinary approach involving coordination between dentists, physical therapists, and other providers may be necessary for comprehensive care and permanent results in complex cases.
TMJ Treatment in Plainview
Managing TMJ can be difficult when traditional treatments only offer temporary relief from discomfort and pain. However, with increasing knowledge of TMJ causes and alternative therapy options available, there is hope for finding effective, long-term solutions.
Remember, early intervention is crucial, so seek help right away if TMJ is suspected. With persistence and the right treatment plan, it is possible to overcome the challenges of this disorder. To learn more about our TMJ treatment options in Plainview, contact us at 516-931-3999.