Relieving TMJ Pain – Part 1

Relieving TMJ Pain – Part 1

Posted by Dr. Alicia Abeyta DDS FAGD on Aug 30 2017, 07:59 PM

Quick – point to your temporomandibular joint!

If you pointed to the connection between your jaw and skull, good job. Unfortunately, that probably means you have TMJ pain. Most people are blissfully unaware of where the TMJ is and what temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMD, is. When it doesn’t have any problems we tend not to think about it. However, for millions of Americans, it’s not possible to forget about the TMJ due to TMD.

TMJ pain is common but mysterious

TMJ pain is a poorly understood problem, especially considering 3 million cases of it are diagnosed each year in the US alone. For example, we don’t know what causes TMJ pain physiologically. We know that it can be related to an injury, like whiplash, or that it can stem from habitually clenching or grinding the teeth, often during sleep. Arthritis and issues within the joint can also contribute to TMD.

What can sufferers of TMJ pain do to alleviate their symptoms?

There are numerous treatments and therapies for TMD, from clinical options to at-home treatments.

Clinical options for TMJ pain relief

Dr. Lee Medina, DOM offers acupuncture treatment to alleviate TMJ pain. Known as AcuDental Therapy, this works by combining acupuncture and essential oils to relax the muscles of the jaw and reduce anxiety. Lee has over 18 years of experience working in and around the mouth, and offers her treatments along side your normal dental care.

Medication is also an option for TMD sufferers. If appropriate, your doctor may prescribe high-dose NSAIDs to relieve pain, muscle relaxants to loosen the jaw muscles, or anti-anxiety drugs to reduce anxiety or stress-based habits that contribute to TMD, like teeth grinding.

You may be able to use an appliance called an occlusal guard to relieve TMD. An occlusal guard keeps your teeth from touching while you sleep, thereby eliminating the grinding that contributes to TMD. Dental treatments to fix bite problems may also help.

Check back soon for Relieving TMJ Pain – Part 2

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