TMJ Treatment

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ, TMJD or TMD) involves conditions affecting the temporomandibular joint, jaw muscles and nerves on one or both sides of the head that result in jaw, face, and head and neck pain.

The pain and discomfort caused by TMJ disorders may be severe, can be either intermittent or constant, and may last for many years. According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), TMD symptoms may recur during stressful times, whether good or bad.

Categories of TMJ Disorder

According to the TMJ Association, Ltd. – a non-profit organization that serves patients, medical/dental professionals and the general public through education, social and advocacy programs – there are three categories of TMJ disorders. A person may have one or more type of TMD condition simultaneously.

TMJ conditions include:

  • Myofacial Pain. This is the most common TMD condition that involves discomfort and pain in the muscles that control jaw movement.
  • Internal Derangement. This TMJ disorder is associated with a displaced disc in the jaw joint, a dislocated jaw or an injury to the condyle, which is the part of the lower jaw that acts like a hinge.
  • Arthritis. This TMD pain involves degenerative and inflammatory joint conditions.

Treatments for TMJ Disorder: Conservative is Key

Conservative is the key word when it comes to TMJ treatment. Most treatments for TMJ symptoms are simple and can be done at home, without the need for surgery. The most severe cases may require treatment with splints, mouth guards or other traditional forms of TMD therapy.

Regardless of the treatment prescribed for you, it is important that you follow your dentist's instructions. You should also keep up with routine dental visits so your dentist can regularly monitor your TMJ symptoms.

In addition, the TMJ Association advises patients to keep in mind that there is currently no evidence to suggest that TMJ disorders can be prevented. Therefore, caution is advised regarding any treatment(s) presented as providing this benefit.