TMJ treatment remains controversial. There are a lot of different treatment options and people disagree about which ones are best. One thing we all tend to agree on is that less is best when it comes to TMJ treatment. The only problems it that not everyone agree what “less” means.
The Controversy over Bite Splints
Bite splints are a very common TMJ treatment, and we have used them in our office to get great results for our patients. But some people don’t like bite splints, and they want to call them a dangerous treatment because they can cause permanent changes in the bite. They want to lump bite splints together with surgical TMJ treatments in a category of irreversible treatments.
Bite splints are one of the most commonly used TMJ treatments out there, probably the most common treatment after home care. However, some people want to lump bite splints into the category of irreversible treatments.
Many bite splint opponents point to the findings of the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) for support. However, the NIDCR TMJ treatment guidelines recognize that there are many different kinds of bite splints, some of which do indeed change the bite, but others of which don’t cause any bite or teeth changes.
Lack of Treatment Leads to Damage
The problem with NIDCR’s treatment guidelines is that it is susceptible to this kind of misreading. In fact, many people with TMJ read these guidelines and think that it’s best not to get treatment for TMJ.
It’s definitely good to start with home care for jaw pain and headaches related to TMJ, but if you lean on them too long, you may learn what the NIDCR guidelines don’t tell you: no treatment can actually be an irreversible treatment. A lack of treatment can lead to joint inflammation, tooth damage, and even the loss of irreplaceable bone. Avoiding TMJ treatment for too long may leave you with only surgical interventions for treatment.
Getting attention sooner will keep your options open for less invasive treatments.
It Never Hurts to Talk
Okay, so if you have TMJ, it might hurt to talk, but that’s just another sign that you need to see a doctor or dentist about your TMJ. A consultation leads to no commitment. We can evaluate your jaw and let you know if you need treatment or if home care is sufficient for you. We will determine if we can help you get relief, and what that would entail. If we can’t help, we will refer you to someone who can.
Don’t wait until TMJ causes irreversible damage. Please call Smile Columbia Dentistry today at (803) 781-9090 for an appointment with a Columbia, SC TMJ dentist.