TMJ Treatment Options

What are TMJ Disorders?

tmj therapy colorado springsThe temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is a small joint that is in front of the ear where the skull and lower jaw meet.  This joint allows the mandible (lower jaw) to move and function. This the most constantly used joint in the body.  The TMJ is a “ball and socket” joint, where the round end or “ball” is called the condyle; the “socket” is called the fossa.

Another important factor for proper TMJ function is the teeth themselves because if teeth don’t fit together properly, stresses can be generated that can displace the condyle and damage the disc, ligaments, and muscles.

TMJ disorders can be relatively minor, or they can be extremely painful and potentially debilitating. Attendant habits, such as clenching or grinding the teeth, along with emotional stress can trigger TMJ symptoms as well as muscle spasms around the joint and jaws.

What are some symptoms of TMJ?

Those who suffer from TMJ can display a variability of symptoms, and certain signs may indicate the potential for TMJ disorders to develop

Following are signs and symptoms that are possible in patients with TMJ problems:

  • Painful clicks or pops in the joint when opening or closing the mouth
  • A habit of tooth grinding or clenching
  • Sore jaw muscles when awakening
  • Difficulty opening the mouth fully
  • Frequent headaches or neck aches
  • Pain in the TMJ area
  • Locking of the jaw

TMJ Disorders Treatment

Our services

Botox Treatment

At Briargate Dental Center, we use Botox treatment for use versus acute and chronic muscular TMJ problems. Botox is used as an alternative treatment for TMJ disorders and associated jaw tension and pain. The injections often eliminate headaches resulting from teeth grinding, and, in cases of severe stress, Botox can even minimize lockjaw.

Splint Therapy

At Briargate Dental Center we also use splint therapy, specifically NTI. Some of the benefits of using NTI treatment include

  • Drug-free therapy for migraine pain
  • Easy to seat, saving chair time
  • Intimate yet comfortable for increased patient satisfaction
  • Reduces clenching intensity by 70%*
  • Prevents tooth wear
  • A superior alternative to full coverage bite guards

CONSERVATIVE THERAPY 

  1.  Rest the jaw by keeping the teeth apart for periods of time and to practice good posture.
  2. Avoid hard foods that strain the jaw when chewing
  3. Proper exercise of the jaw may also be helpful at appropriate times. – These exercises should consist of gentle opening and closing movements to avoid stressing the joint.  Moist heat can be used to help relax muscles of mastication.
  4. Dentists may prescribe medications such as muscle relaxants and/or anti-inflammatory drugs that can help relieve discomfort, reduce inflammation, and break the cycle of pain.

PHYSICAL THERAPY

TMJ Theray colorado springsThere are a variety of physical therapy techniques that can be used to treat certain types of TMJ disorders and these may require a referral to the appropriate specialist.  These techniques include jaw exercises, posture training, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, biofeedback, and others.

DENTAL TREATMENT

Your Colorado Springs Dentist may recommend the construction of a nightguard device, or occlusal splint to be worn for varying amounts of time, depending on the nature of your TMJ problem.  There are many types of splints to help reposition the jaw, prevent clenching and grinding of the teeth, rest the jaws, and help relax the jaw muscles.

Orthodontic treatment or dental treatment such as restorations to correct a defective bite may be necessary and potentially therapeutic as they restore proper harmony between the teeth, muscles, and joint.

Briargate Dental Center in Colorado Springs, CO specializes in multiple dental services under one roof in order to provide our patients with the best care possible.  Contact us today for your regular checkup or if you are interested in a particluar service. New patients welcome!