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Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, commonly called TMJ, are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. We don't know for certain how many people have TMJ disorders, but some estimates suggest that over 10 million North Americans are affected. The condition appears to be more common in women than men. TMJ is referred to by different names such as TMD, TMJ disorder, and TMJ dysfunction.

 

 

Conservative Treatments

 

Because the most common jaw joint and muscle problems are temporary and do not get worse, simple treatment is all that is usually needed to relieve discomfort.

 

Self-Care Practices

There are steps you can take that may be helpful in easing symptoms, such as:

 

  • Eating soft foods
  • Applying ice packs
  • Avoiding extreme jaw movements (such as wide yawning, loud singing, and gum chewing)
  • Learning techniques for relaxing and reducing stress
  • Practicing gentle jaw stretching and relaxing exercises that may help increase jaw movement
  • Exercises if appropriate for your particular condition

 

Pain Medications

For many people with TMJ disorders, short-term use of over-the-counter pain medicines or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen, may provide temporary relief from jaw discomfort. When necessary, we can prescribe stronger pain or anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, or anti-depressants to help ease symptoms.

 

Stabilization Splints

We may recommend an oral appliance called a bruxism splint, stabilization splint, night guard, or bite guard, which is a plastic guard that fits over the upper or lower teeth. Stabilization splints are the most widely used treatments for TMJ disorders. Studies of their effectiveness in providing pain relief, however, have been inconclusive. If a stabilization splint is recommended, it should be used only for a short time and should not cause permanent changes in the bite. If a splint causes or increases pain, stop using it and let us know.

 

The conservative, reversible treatments described are useful for temporary relief of pain - they are not cures for TMJ disorders. If symptoms continue over time, come back often, or worsen, please let us know.

 

TMJ Dysfunction

LOCATION

DENTAL SERVICES

PATIENT REVIEWS

Matthew D. Holley, D.M.D., P.C.

542 McQueen Smith Road North,

Prattville, Alabama 36066

Phone: (334) 310-8866

Dr. Holley and his staff are always extremely professional, thorough and knowledgeable. It is nice not to dread going to the dentist!

 

 -Hollie T."                    View More

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