Conservative TMJ Treatment
Many men and women with temporomandibular (TMJ) disorder live with painful symptoms that significantly impact their quality of life on a daily basis. Typically, conservative treatment is recommended before surgery. Drs. David Spokane and Melissa Karski in Beaver Falls, PA, can provide non-surgical TMJ treatment using an orthodontic splint. When worn as directed, this oral appliance gently repositions the jaw to alleviate tension in the jaw joints.
What Is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorder is a condition that occurs when the jaw muscles, joints, and ligaments are not functioning properly. It is often characterized by inflammation of the jaw joints. This dysfunction can be caused by misalignment, injury, arthritis, and stress, among other issues.
There are several symptoms that are often indicative of TMJ disorder, including:
- While this typically originates in the jaw, pain is also common in the shoulders, neck, and back. You may also experience toothaches and headaches due to the tension in the jaw joints.
- Popping or Clicking
- Many patients experience popping or clicking when they open and close their jaw. This is often exhibited when chewing or speaking.
- Teeth Grinding
- Bruxism, or teeth grinding, can lead to TMJ disorder or become worse due to TMJ disorder.
- Hearing Problems
- If you suffer from TMJ disorder, you may also develop tinnitus, which is a ringing or buzzing in the ears.
- Limited Mobility
- You may be unable to fully open your jaw, or experience difficulty chewing.
Why Treatment Is Important
Some patients may try to ignore these symptoms, especially in the beginning stages. However, TMJ disorder can have serious health consequences including:
- Worn teeth
- Increased risk of tooth decay
- Damage to the jaw joints
- Impaired sleep
Seeking professional treatment as soon as possible can help you prevent these issues.
This conservative treatment method is designed to shift the jaw into proper alignment, reducing tension on the joints and muscles, and encouraging normal function.
Orthodontic Splint Therapy
Our doctors can provide an orthodontic jaw repositioning appliance to help treat TMJ disorder. This conservative treatment method is designed to shift the jaw into proper alignment, reducing tension on the joints and muscles, and encouraging normal function.
Typically, ongoing adjustments are necessary to accommodate the changes in your bite. We may also recommend additional treatments including orthodontics to help your bite meet properly, alleviating tension in the jaw joints. TMJ surgery may become necessary if your condition is resistant to non-surgical methods.
What You Can Do at Home
Taking simple measures in combination with using your appliance can help you minimize pain caused by your TMJ disorder. We recommend that you make efforts to reduce the strain on your jaw by:
- Trying to reduce the stress in your life
- Following a recommended diet
- Making sure that you get a healthy amount of sleep
- Quitting smoking
- Reducing alcohol consumption
Throughout the course of treatment, our team is always available to address questions or concerns.
If you are experiencing jaw discomfort or other symptoms of TMJ disorder, contact us online, or call our location nearest you. Dr. Spokane is a board-certified orthodontist, and he and our team are dedicated to providing you with the highest level of care.