Common Treatments for TMJ from a General Dentist

TMJ St George, UT Although TMJ can lead to painful and annoying inflammation and irritation of the jaw, there are many home remedies and healthy lifestyle practices that can mitigate these symptoms. Before diving into common treatments, it’s important to better understand what this is and how issues arise.  TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint, which are joints located in front of your ears on both sides of your face. Issues arise when the ligaments and muscles surrounding these joints become inflamed, swollen, or irritated. There are varying levels of pain that accompany this, and the condition can be mild to severe, worsening over time if not treated.  There are many causes for these symptoms, and it is often difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of pain. However, the most common causes are: 
  • Bruxism is teeth grinding that negatively impacts the jaw and teeth 
  • Dislocation of the jaw due to trauma or impact 
  • Arthritis in the joint 
  • Stress that can cause bruxism or tightness in the jaw 
  • Misaligned teeth and/or an improper bite
Issues will often be identified in a routine dental checkup by observing the range of motion when you open and close your jaw, examination for areas of pain, and symptoms that you relay to your general dentist. If your dental professional is unable to properly judge the extent of the damage to your jaw, they may take x-rays, CBST scans, and MRI scans.

Treatment for TMJ 

If you experience the symptoms listed above and are diagnosed with the disorder, there are many at-home treatments that you can engage in to fight the pain that accompanies the irritation and inflammation. Non-surgical treatments include: 
  • Icing your face and temple area for 10 minutes at a time, applying the ice in the areas of pain 
  • Applying heat to your face and jaw area where the pain is occurring 
  • Completing jaw strengthening and stretching exercises which can be done simply and prescribed by your dental professional 
  • Eating soft foods which keep your jaw from overworking
  • Avoiding tough foods that are hard on your jaw, such as crunchy or chewy foods 
  • Taking over-the-counter pain medications
If your condition is severe and the remedies list above do not provide relief, there are additionally surgical treatments that may provide the relief you need: 
  • Arthroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a small incision to repair or remove the disk or bone spur that is causing pain
  • Arthrocentesis is another minimally invasive procedure that involves rinsing the joint with fluid, removing inflammation
Joint replacement is an involved surgery that typically requires anesthesia and a hospital stay. During the procedure, part or all is replaced to relieve pain and improve the joint ability to perform.  TMJ issues can be painful if not treated properly. If you are experiencing the pain and inconvenience of this condition, there are many at-home and in-office treatment options to relieve the pain and ensure you can carry on with your day-to-day life without interference from temporomandibular joint issues.  Request an appointment here: or call St. George Dental Care at (435) 628-9099 for an appointment in our St George office. Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: TMJ Dentist in St George, UT.

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