6 main treatments for TMJ pain
The treatment for temporomandibular dysfunction, also known as TMJ pain, is based on its cause, and includes the use of bite plates to relieve joint pressure, facial muscle relaxation techniques, physiotherapy or, in cases more serious, surgery.
It is also very important to observe and avoid habits that may be triggering the pain, such as the habit of biting nails, biting your lips or clenching your teeth intentionally or unintentionally, supporting your chin in your hand or chewing gum or hard objects, for example.
Temporo-mandibular dysfunction is a disorder in the joint and in the muscles responsible for the movements of the mouth and jaw, which causes fatigue in the respiratory muscles and causes symptoms such as jaw pain, frequent headaches and popping or dislocation of the jaw when opening the mouth. Learn more about the symptoms and how to identify what is temporomandibular disorder.
The main forms of treatment include:
1. Use of Bite Plates
Also known as a stabilization plate or occlusion plate, these plates must be guided by the dentist and are often used in the treatment of TMJ, as they work by relaxing the muscles, stabilizing the joint and protecting the teeth.
Generally, these plaques are made of custom-made acrylic, and are especially suitable for people who have bruxism, which is the unconscious habit of clenching or grinding their teeth, especially during sleep, which causes tooth wear and triggers TMJ pain. . Learn more about what it is and how to treat bruxism.
Physiotherapy exercises are very important to decrease inflammation and increase joint strength and stability, allowing better functioning of the region. The physiotherapist will indicate the best techniques according to each case, and involves performing exercises, osteopathic sessions, electrical stimulation, applying ultrasound or infrared vibration or therapies with heat or cold, for example.
When the cervical spine is involved, some sessions of osteopathy may be useful to reposition and deflate the joints of both the cervical and the mandible.
3. Use of medicines
The remedies can be indicated by the doctor or dentist, and are usually painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Dipyrone or Ibuprofen, to relieve pain crises. In these periods, the use of a muscle relaxant, such as Cyclobenzaprine, may also be recommended, to reduce tension in the muscles.
4. Relaxation techniques
Stress and anxiety are causes of worsening bruxism and tension in the muscles of the jaw, so it is important that they are controlled to allow effective treatment of TMJ pain. Thus, it is recommended to seek the help of a psychotherapist or psychologist to help in this matter.
Other ways to allow relaxation are to invest in activities such as meditation, acupuncture, listening to music, reading or other activities that can bring a sense of well-being. Check out our tips for fighting stress.
5. Laser therapy
Laser therapy is a new treatment technique used for temporomandibular disorders, as it has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, healing and stimulating effects on the blood circulation of the affected muscles, being very useful to relieve TMJ symptoms.
Surgery to treat temporomandibular dysfunction is reserved for specific or severe cases, such as pain caused by a fracture or the existence of a major deformity in the face.
In addition, it can also be indicated when symptoms are severe and there has been no improvement with clinical treatment, which happens only in rare cases.