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How Is TMJ Disorder Treated?

TMJ can be a painful affliction that can cause severe head, ear, neck, and jaw pain as well as fatigue and even some degree of depression. Since TMJ symptoms can vary from patient to patient, it is impossible to treat it properly without first making a firm diagnosis as to determining the root cause of the TMJ pain. Once the cause of the pain is established one of the following TMJ treatment methods are usually considered.

Palliative Care: Palliative care helps relieve symptoms even when a cure to the TMJ disorder can not be found.

Splint and Physical Therapy : Splint and physical therapy is often used together to help treat TMJ problems which originate from either trauma, joint dislocation, or some other malady of the jaw and/or facial muscles and joints.

Orthodontic and Restorative Treatments: Orthodontic and restorative treatments are often used when teeth grinding and misalignment of the teeth causes the TMJ joint and adjoining muscles to become damaged form the force of the trauma.

Depending on the cause of the TMJ disorder, symptoms can take quite a while to be relieved. To truly treat TMJ, it is important that the cause of it is found in order to alleviate most if not all symptoms permanently. Otherwise, patients find that symptoms continue to return. Although most TMJ problems can and do originate from the teeth, the TMJ Joint itself, the jaw muscles, or from some type of trauma to the mouth, cheek and/or jaw, most TMJ problems tend to be a combination of several factors, which can make diagnosis and treatment even more difficult.

While TMJ symptoms due to teeth misalignment can be fixed with restorative or orthodontic care, damaged jaw muscles and TMJ joints may require other, more comprehensive treatment options such as the ones listed above.

Of course some immediate relief can be experienced until more formal treatment can occur. This includes relieving jaw pain by placing hot towels around the head, or using massage to relax the face and neck muscles. For those who have the tendency to clench or grind their teeth in their sleep, an evening mouth guard can be helpful, relieving much of their daytime distress.

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