The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is one of the most complex joints in the body. It is also one of the most frequently used joints and is responsible for opening and closing the mouth. Under normal conditions, a functioning TMJ performs its actions without associated pain. Still, individuals with TMJ syndrome might experience pain and clicking during jaw movement, as well as neck pain and headaches. 

It is important to visit a TMJ dentist to treat TMJ symptoms as untreated TMJ symptoms may progress to chronic TMJ disorders. There is a wide range of treatments for TMJ syndrome. These treatment options vary from lifestyle modifications to surgery. Your Laguna Niguel dentist can help you decide which treatment option is best suited for you. 

Discussed below are the various treatment options for TMJ syndrome.

Treatment Options For TMJ Syndrome

There are a wide variety of treatment options for symptoms of TMJ disorders. Your dentist Laguna Niguel might recommend various therapies, some of which can be done simultaneously. Treatment options for symptoms of TMJ disorders include:

  • Lifestyle Modification: Symptoms of TMJ disorders usually resolve on their own in most individuals. There are still some modifications to your lifestyle that you can make to improve symptoms. These include jaw exercises, eating soft food, avoiding chewing gum, avoiding wide yawning, massaging jaw muscles, and using heat pads and ice packs as warm and cold compresses, respectively. 

Lifestyle modification is usually one of the first treatment options for TMJ syndrome. This is because one of the major causes of TMJ syndrome is stress and lifestyle habits. 

  • Injections: This provides temporary relief from symptoms of TMJ syndrome. Injections are a minimally invasive TMJ treatment option and have no recovery time. Injections usually used in the treatment of TMJ disorders include corticosteroid injections which help reduce pain and inflammation and Botox injections which paralyze the jaw muscles and relieve symptoms. Due to the paralyzing effect of Botox, patients treated with Botox injections may develop a temporary “fixed smile.” 
  • Oral splints and mouth guards: This TMJ treatment option involves using customized dental splints and mouth guards. Dental splints are used for bite correction, preventing tooth grinding, reducing clenching, and maintaining the alignment of the teeth. Mouth guards and splints are the most recommended treatment option for individuals with moderate symptoms of TMJ disorders. These devices have been shown to reduce TMJ pain with minimal side effects in the long run. 

While these devices can be bought online, it is not recommended as online options are unregulated and can affect your natural bite. Visit a TMJ dentistry clinic and speak with a Laguna Niguel dentist for appropriate diagnosis and treatment. 

  • Arthroscopy and Arthrocentesis: Major TMJ treatment procedures are recommended only when the abovementioned treatments have failed to yield good results. While arthroscopy and arthrocentesis are minimally invasive procedures, they still require an average recovery period of about one week. Orthopedic surgeons perform arthroscopy procedures, and they assist the dentist in making the diagnosis of TMJ syndrome.

Arthroscopy is performed by inserting a fiber-optic camera into the joint. The joint is viewed, and the surgeon can determine the cause of symptoms. Arthrocentesis procedures, however, are usually performed for diagnosis and treatment. It involves draining fluid out of the joint with a small needle and syringe. The fluid drained helps the clinician determine the root cause of joint swelling. 

  • Surgery: This is usually performed only as a last resort. Surgeries on the jaw have a long recovery period and require general anesthesia. With surgery, parts of the TMJ can be removed, replaced, repaired, or repositioned. Jaw surgery has a couple of significant risks associated with the procedure. Some of the risks of jaw surgery include scarring, loss of jaw movement, and reaction or rejection of artificial joints. 

The risks of jaw surgery make it important to consider less invasive and safer treatment options first. It is also important to get a second opinion if your physician recommends surgery to treat TMJ symptoms.

TMJ syndrome causes pain and can affect the quality of life. Fortunately, there are a lot of treatment options for TMJ syndrome. This means that you don’t have to endure pain due to TMJ disorders. Contact your Laguna Niguel Dentist today to see which TMJ treatment option is best for you or call us at (949) 831-7790,