If you are suffering from TMJ symptoms such as jaw pain, clicking or popping noises when opening and closing the mouth, or chronic headaches, coming to our office for an evaluation with Dr. Scott Young can help you get relief. As an experienced neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Young knows how to use both hands-on evaluations and the latest diagnostic tools to evaluate the alignment of your jaw joint, enabling him to detect TMJ, and customize the treatment that will best meet your needs.
TMJ Home Treatment
Most cases of TMJ are temporary, transient, and easily treatable at home. If you start experiencing TMJ symptoms like jaw pain, you can start by trying some home treatments like:
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers
- Switching to a soft-food diet
- Relax your jaw
- Applying heat to sore muscles
- Applying ice to sore joints
- Control stress and other jaw pain triggers
Most cases of TMJ will resolve themselves spontaneously. However, there are some cautions about home care that you need to be aware of. First, over-the-counter medications are not inherently safe. Follow the label instructions, and never take more than the recommended dose unless advised by your doctor. If the recommended dose does not control your pain, talk to a doctor or TMJ dentist. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen (Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) work best because they can control swelling in the joints.
Many people are confused about when to apply heat and when to apply ice. Apply heat to sore muscles to help them relax. Apply ice to joints where inflammation is causing pain and dysfunction. When in doubt, apply ice.
Never try to force your jaw if it locks in place. Forcing the jaw to move can provide temporary relief, but can cause serious long-term damage. If your jaw locks, seek professional care.
TMJ Treatment Options
Neuromuscular dentistry is dedicated to the detection and treatment of TMJ. Dr. Young is the only dentist in The Woodlands area to have received neuromuscular training at the prestigious Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, allowing him to offer the most advanced and effective forms of treatment available today.
Comprehensive, scientific diagnosis of TMJ is the first step in ensuring you get the best treatment for your TMJ. We begin by looking at your medical history, then perform a comprehensive exam of your jaw system. Finally, we may use various imaging tools like CT scans or MRI to help us determine the state of your jaw system.
Treatments for TMJ may include:
- Customized mouthguards to prevent bruxism
- Oral splints to help retrain jaw muscles
- TENS therapy for pain relief and muscle relaxation
- Dental restorations to correct bite issues
- Invisalign® to address malocclusion
- Anti-inflammatory medications
Mouthguards and oral splints are used to help reduce damage from TMJ, but also to help put your jaw in a proper position to help the muscles relax and relieve pressure on the jaw joint. These are temporary treatments that work as long as you continue to wear the appliances, but after you stop wearing them, your bite will revert to its previous condition.
TENS therapy is another temporary TMJ treatment. Short for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, TENS is an electric massage that soothes tense muscles. For some people, periodic TENSing is all that’s necessary to achieve long-lasting relief.
More invasive and long-term treatments like orthodontics and dental restorations are usually only recommended after we are able to achieve good results with temporary treatments and want to make the results long-term and more convenient.
These treatments are often combined with biofeedback therapy, stress reduction, and jaw exercises. What combination of treatments and therapies is best for you will be dependent on factors including the cause of your TMJ and the extent of misalignment. As a skilled and experienced neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Young will best be able to evaluate your needs and determine how to most effectively restore comfort and function.
To learn more about your TMJ treatment options, please call (281) 367-5559 or contact our experienced Woodlands neuromuscular dentist today. Dr. Young is an LVI-trained neuromuscular dentist serving Houston, The Woodlands, and surrounding areas of Texas.