What Treatments are Available for TMJ / TMD Pain?
Located right in front of the ear, the TMJ pivots when the mouth opens and closes, and muscles control the movement itself. The pivot point is protected by the articular disk, which keeps the motion smooth. When the pivot isn’t aligned, the teeth come together unevenly, creating stress on the muscles and pain. TMD is diagnosed when this disk becomes dislocated or otherwise damaged. Overnight teeth grinding (bruxism) or jaw clenching during sleep are contributing factors. Because we’re not awake to feel it, we can’t voluntarily stop bruxism and clenching.
BOTOX® is a neurotoxin that blocks muscle movement. Injecting the medication into trigger points contributing to myofascial pain, neck pain, and migraines can prevent the movement that causes the pain. When used for TMJ pain and TMD, BOTOX® prevents the dysfunctional muscle movement that forces the joint out of position and puts pressure on the articular disk. BOTOX® may be used alongside anti-inflammatory drugs, gentle stretches, and stress reduction.
Occlusal guards, which sit atop the teeth between upper and lower arches, are an effective treatment because they prevent bruxism and jaw clenching during sleeping hours. By controlling bite alignment, occlusal guards keep your TMJ from pivoting incorrectly, relieving strain on the articular disk and relaxing the muscles. The guard also absorbs energy from jaw clenching, which puts less strain on your muscles and TMJ to rectify acute and chronic jaw pain.
Laser TMJ Bio-Stimulation is another option for TMD treatment. Through a controlled combination of wavelengths, one of which decreases inflammation and the other relieves pain, Laser TMJ Bio-Stimulation enhances nutrient absorption in your tissues and increases blood circulation while boosting cellular energy for repair. This is a good treatment option when other treatments haven’t proven effective.