Treatment of TMJ Disorder

There are many types of treatment available for TMD and facial pain including everything from exercise, medications, physical therapy, and bite appliances, special exercises and even joint surgery.

Many TMD problems respond well to conservative treatment. Simple home care consisting of massage and jaw stretching exercises, adhering to a soft food diet, and avoiding damaging habits such as tooth clenching bring relief to many people. The use of medications and oral appliances are also helpful in alleviating TMD symptoms. It is almost always recommended that patients start with conservative care and if that is not sufficient then consider more invasive treatments.

Oral appliances have various names: bite plates, night guards, splints, and orthotics. A bite plate is made of acrylic, which covers either or both, the upper or lower teeth. It snaps over the teeth and is easily removed for cleaning. It helps to relax the jaw muscles; it reduces pressure on the jaw joint, and protects the natural teeth from being worn down. Getting a custom appliance from Dr. Simmons is one of the best conservative approaches to address your TMD.

If conservative treatments are not effective and there is something in the TM joint to fix, then surgery may be appropriate. The benefits and risks of surgery must be fully discussed with the surgeon prior to any decision. Surgery when appropriately indicated has benefited many patients.

Sometimes the TMD pain is something else such as a neuralgia, atypical toothache, salivary gland problem, migraine or other headache. Dr. Simmons is well trained in orofacial pain conditions and will be able to advise you on these conditions if they are present.