TMJ, known medically as Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJD) is a relatively common ailment impacting anywhere from five to 12 percent of United States residents at any one given time.
Fortunately, however, there are treatment options available. AZ-TMJ, a pain management treatment center based in Arizona invites readers to learn more about TMJD, as well as specific remedial options, most notably bite splints.
What Is TMJD?
The Temporomandibular joints are major pieces of connective tissue that join the jaw bone and skull. Everyone has two TMJ joints on either side of their face.
TMJD occurs when either or both joints become damaged due to physical injury or the presence of arthritis. Other stricken individuals might experience some type of joint malfunction.
That said, in certain instances, the condition strikes people for reasons that are unclear to physicians, dental professionals and medical researchers.
The symptoms of TMJ can range in severity from mild to quite severe. Physical manifestations could include jaw pain, ear pain, problems opening and closing the mouth, difficulty chewing, facial discomfort and, in some cases, headaches.
Typically, when the condition is short-lived or presents mild clinical manifestations, no treatment is necessary. However, if TMJD causes significant pain or lifestyle disruptions such as pain or eating difficulties, treatment may be needed.
Among the more common treatments for TMJ are bite splints. These devices are dental contraptions that are placed inside the mouth and are designed to hold the jaw in place and reduce stress on the TMJ joints.
Bite splints are usually indicated as the first line of treatment for individuals experiencing pain or jaw movement challenges associated with TMJD.
After the device is installed by a dentist or physician, said health professional monitors their patient’s condition to determine if the treatment protocol improves TMJD symptoms.
Typically, the period of observation varies depending on the severity of the patient’s TMJD or the presence of other complication ailments like dental problems.
Once the period of monitoring expires, the monitoring medical professional will re-examine the patient. During the exam, they determine if there has been any improvement to the position of the individual’s jaw, if the sounds the jaw emits when moving have changed, or if the TMJ joints have shifted, healed or incurred any further damage. They also measure the amount of tension exhibited by jaw and other facial muscles.
Should the findings return satisfactorily, the patient will likely continue on bite splint therapy. However, if their symptoms or clinical findings did not improve, other more aggressive treatment options might be explored.
Other Therapeutic Protocols
In the event bite splint therapy does not produce intended results, AZ-TMJ offers other potential treatment options such as therapeutic botox, stem cell treatment or the injection of Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), which is blood containing increased levels of platelets. These treatment can be used to stimulate injured or damaged joints.
Contact AZ-TMJ Today
If you live in the Phoenix or Scottsdale and are afflicted with TMJD, call Dr. Farrell for a consultation. Dr. Farrell can review your case and offer the best possible treatment option based upon your specific set of circumstances. Call AZ-TMJ today at (480)-945-3629.