TMJ Guide
 

What Is A Treatment For TMJ?

Although human beings have long since discarded the tendency of fighting for food and taking big bites whenever large chunks of meat become available and have been practicing table manners which prohibit chewing of bones publicly, bite-related or rather jaw-related problems haunt them till today. As a matter of fact, degenerative joint diseases also affect the jaw joints, creating various problems including inflammation, pain, etc. Clinically termed Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Syndrome or TMJ, it often causes unbearable jaw-related face, head and neck pain in many people. However, the problems appear to be more correlated to the muscles, ligaments, tendons and nerves surrounding the temporomandibular joint instead of the joint itself.

 

Studies have also shown that the TMJ disorder mostly involve misalignment of the jaw or the bite, dislocation of the jaw joint as well as displacement of the mandibular disc and so, the treatment procedures follow the same path. It includes Arthrocentesis, Arthroplasty & Discectomy. For many people, the TMJ pain and the associated discomfort can be resolved with these measures. Often performed under general anesthesia, the process entails the surgeon injecting the temporomandinular joint with a viscous solution that is mixed with local anesthesia to ‘flush out’ the inflammatory fluids from it. To counteract excessive swelling, steroids are sometimes added to the injective fluid. However if you are planning a surgery for the TMJ disorder, you need to remember to consult a physician always before opting for this.

 

TMJ Treatment – Surgery Options

 

Arthroplasty however, entails some forms of open surgery for the temporomandibular joint which includes disc repositioning, joint replacement and discectomy. On account of the risk factor involved in Arthroplasty, ranging from minimally invasive to multipart surgery, it is performed only when other treatment modalities have proved ineffective. It may be of significance to record here that though in most cases Arthroplasty can cure major problems related to TMJ, patients often complain of recurring pain in the region later.

 

As for Discectomy which involves disk repositioning, it requires overnight stay of which around two hours are spent in surgery. The surgeon makes a small incision, puts the displaced disk back to its former position and stitches it properly there. The surrounding ligaments, if found damaged, are also taken care of at the same time. Incidentally, disk repositioning is required when the disk, which actually is a protective cartilage, has slipped out of its original position within the TMJ. This surgical procedure is also attempted in rare cases when all other non-invasive treatment procedures have proved ineffective since it carries the risk of injury to the sensitive facial motor nerves causing serious consequences.

 

The TMJ Syndrome And Other Treatment Options

 

Neuromuscular treatment for the TMJ disorder appears to be more effective as compared to general surgical methods that have been described above.

 

This entails three major issues that include (a) Relieving muscle spasm and pain; (b) Stabilizing the bite and (c) Long-term management of the problem. The initial stage of the treatment modality consist of pain alleviation through ULF-TENS, or just TENS where the patient is exposed to Ultra Low Frequency Transcutaneous Electrical Neural Stimulation which is supposed to relax the painful muscles by way of electronically massaging them in a gentle pain-relieving way. Researches have revealed that this process can help reduce the pain by producing endomorphins, a natural polypeptide created within the body.

 

To stabilize the bite, a device known as Orthotic is fitted on to the teeth at bedtime which is supposed to assist in effecting a good bite where the TMJ, head and jaw muscles synchronize to bring the desired result. For long-term management of the pain, there are many options that are tried to provide TMJ relief and remove the associated TMJ pain.

 

Even though so many people in the US suffer from TMJ, very few are lucky to receive appropriate treatment for the simple reason that they are usually unable to describe their symptoms in the right perspective. And as a result, they are often referred to psychiatrists who try to heal them by mere counseling instead of medical help. TMJ problems, sorry to say, advance in stages, often turning from bad to worse when nothing is done to prevent it from taking a bad turn. What is a minor clicking noise heard today can turn into Tinnitus tomorrow with typhoons roaring in the ears. While pain management can be tackled with the help of NSAIDs or over-the-counter pain medications, non-invasive treatment options can help halt the progress of the disease.

 

TMJ Treatment That Really Works

 

Apart from the treatments mentioned above, there are others as well such as conventional drugs and over the counter solutions like mouthguards and splints. There are some natural exercises for TMJ as well. But the fact remains that none of these treatments can provide a lasting cure because they all treat just the symptoms and not the root causes.

 

Holistic remedies on the other hand do just this. Treating the body as a whole, the holistic approach identifies all the root causes and then eradicates them all. Naturally when this is achieved, the symptoms go away and the person is said to be cured from the TMJ disease.


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