There are various treatment options that Dr. Hecht can utilize to improve the harmony and function of your jaw. Once an evaluation confirms a diagnosis of TMJ disorder, Dr. Hecht will determine the proper course of treatment. It is important to note that treatment always works best with a team approach of self-care joined with professional care.
The initial goals are to relieve the muscle spasm and joint pain. This is usually accomplished with a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxant. Steroids can be injected directly into the joints to reduce pain and inflammation. Self-care treatments can often be effective as well and include:
- Resting your jaw
- Keeping your teeth apart when you are not swallowing or eating
- Eating soft foods
- Applying ice and heat
- Exercising your jaw
- Practicing good posture
Stress management techniques such as biofeedback or physical therapy may also be recommended, as well as a temporary, clear plastic appliance known as an orthotic. An orthotic fits over your top or bottom teeth and helps keep your teeth apart. There are different types of appliances used for different purposes. A night-guard helps you stop clenching or grinding your teeth and reduces muscle tension at night, helping to protect the cartilage and joint surfaces. An anterior positioning appliance moves your jaw forward, relieves pressure on parts of your jaw and aids in disk repositioning. It may be worn 24 hours a day to help your jaw heal. An orthotic stabilization appliance is worn 24 hours a day or just at night to move your jaw into proper position. Appliances also help to protect from tooth wear.