TMJ Treatment Begins with Positive Diagnosis
The first step in TMJ treatment is to determine whether TMJ really is the cause of your symptoms. We will begin by listening to your descriptions of the symptoms and we will ask you some questions. We will take baseline measurements of your jaw movement, muscle tension, and jaw sounds. Then we will use TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation), a kind of electric massage, to relax your muscles. This will provide you with instant relief from many TMJ symptoms, but will also allow us to analyze your jaw system without the interference of your muscles, which can work to hold your jaw in an unnatural position.
Now we will repeat measurements of your jaw movement, muscle tension, and jaw sounds. Once we have determined the extent of your TMJ, we will recommend TMJ treatment. For some people, mild TMJ requires only intermittent use of TENS to provide relief.
For more severe TMJ, we may recommend that you wear an oral splint or orthotic (sometimes called a bite splint). The orthotic will hold your jaw in the position of maximum rest, reducing muscle tension, nerve irritation, and other effects of TMJ that lead to negative symptoms.
If your TMJ is the result of or has caused excessive wear on your teeth, we may recommend dental restorations to help build your teeth back up so they can hold your jaw in place. We may recommend this initially or if an oral splint isn’t giving you relief throughout the day.
In rare cases, you may need surgery of the TMJ joint, including TMJ joint replacement.