TMJ is an umbrella term used to describe an imbalance in the jaw system which causes a number of far-reaching symptoms throughout the body. This imbalance stems mostly from the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jawbone to the skull, and is involved in a complex network of muscles, bones, and nerves. The complexity of the temporomandibular joint plays into the difficulty of both diagnosing and treating TMJ. Patients can experience symptoms varying in severity and location, including jaw pain, which is the most common, and symptoms like vertigo and tingling fingers.

While many patients suffering from TMJ can go a long while before finding a treatment that works, several new treatments are being made available.

What Are Platelet-rich Plasma Injections?

Platelet-rich plasma (PPT), also known as autologous conditioned plasma, is a concentrated mixture of platelet-rich plasma protein that has been derived from whole blood through a centrifuged process. This mixture is then injected into a damaged tendon, ligament, muscle, or joint, in an attempt to activate the body’s key healing process which is believe to be triggered by platelet rich blood. The treatment is relatively new, and has primarily been used to treat tendinitis, osteoarthritis, oral surgery, and plastic surgery.

Can PPT Injections Treat TMJ?

A recent study conducted by researchers at Taipei Medical University tested the effectiveness of platelet-rich plasma injection in patients with TMJ. In a series of randomized controlled trials, researchers found PPT injections to be more effective at treating TMJ pain than the placebo, but didn’t significantly improve the mouth’s range of motion.

Unfortunately, PPT has little evidence arguing its effectiveness. In the largest study, examining 230 patients with tennis elbow, only 84 percent of PPT receiving patients reported a 25 percent reduction in pain. Many other studies have shown similar lackluster results. In part because of its mediocre performance, most insurance carriers don’t cover PPT treatments, making it inaccessible for many people with TMJ.

Alternative TMJ Treatment

If you’ve been suffering from TMJ, we may be able to provide you with the treatment you’ve been looking for. There are several drug-free options that could help to relieve symptoms like jaw pain, popping noises when chewing, and even frequent headaches. Beginning with an appointment to take measurements and assess damage, we may suggest using TENS to relax muscles and begin the process of healing. Treatments like a custom made mouth splint can help to reposition your jaw so that it can begin to heal itself.

You may have lived in Columbia, SC with TMJ symptoms for many years, but you don’t have to live with them any longer. To start your TMJ treatment, please call (803) 781-9090 or email Smile Columbia Dentistry today for an appointment with TMJ dentist Dr. Adam Hahn.