There is no one best treatment for TMJ, as it can be caused by a number of different factors, but there are some treatments that are much more common than others (because they usually work right the first time). In most cases, TMJ disorders may go away with no treatment. If your symptoms persist, your doctor may recommend any of the following treatments:
The most common medicines prescribed for TMJ are pain relievers and anti-inflammatories, almost always of the over-the-counter variety, such as Tylenol and ibuprofen. If these medicines are not enough, your dentist may prescribe something stronger, such as a prescription-strength ibuprofen. It is extremely rare when prescription painkillers are issued for TMJ issues.
Therapies can include things like mouthguards to wear while sleeping, as well as physical therapy to get the jaw muscles strong and flexible. Other treatments might include hot and cold compresses.
Only done in the rarest of cases, there are some surgeries that can help TMJ pain, including arthorocentesis, a minimally invasive procedure that flushes out the area to remove debris and inflammatory byproducts. Injections are another course, including corticosteroid injections into the joint. TMJ arthroscopy and modified condylotomy are two other procedures that can be used in rare circumstances.
The fastest, least invasive ways to cure TMJ are to nurse it from home without the need of doctors and treatment. Eat soft foods and steer clear of sticky or chewy foods. Stretch and massage your jaw (perhaps after having a physical therapist give you exercises) and applying heat and cold alternately to your jaw will have a big impact.
Of course, the cause of the TMJ pain may be more serious, so be prepared to seek medical help if it’s not working on your own.
The best medicines for TMJ pain are over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatories, such as Tylenol and ibuprofen. In some extreme circumstances, a dentist may prescribe something stronger, but even then it’s likely to be a prescription ibuprofen, not opioid painkiller.
The best thing to be done for TMJ, at first, is to try all the at-home remedies: the painkillers, the stretching, the hot and cold.
If that doesn’t work, your next step would be to see a dentist. Most likely they will recommend a mouthguard that will stop you from grinding your teeth when you sleep. They might also recommend physical therapy as well as talk therapy to work through your stress: much teeth grinding is caused by stress.
Finally, the dentist may look at surgical methods to deal with your TMJ issues.
The effects of not treating your TMJ can be severe and life altering--not so much because of the danger posed by the TMJ, but by the destructive behaviors that follow severe untreated pain. These include alcoholism and drug use, as well as insomnia. And all of these things can, naturally, have a severe impact on home and work life. So it’s best to start a treatment regimen right away.
TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Raleigh-Durham