At some point in your life, you may experience Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD). The symptoms may be hard to spot, as they are similar with that of tooth decay, gum disease, sinus problems, and arthritis.
It takes knowing your history and a visit to your trusted dentist in Fredericksburg, VA to confirm if you have TMD. If there is indeed a problem with your temporomandibular joint, your dentist may recommend the following tried-and-true TMD treatments:
Treatments for TMD
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen and aspirin help relieve TMJ pain and swelling.
- Muscle relaxants – if you clench or grind your teeth, your dentist may recommend a muscle relaxant to loosen your jaw muscles.
- Anti-anxiety drugs – these drugs may be essential if stress is making your TMD worse.
- Antidepressants – low doses of antidepressants can help reduce or control TMD-induced pain.
While NSAIDs can be available over the counter, you will need a prescription to get muscle relaxants, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications.
Splints or Night Guards
Splints (which can be used all the time) and night guards (are worn at night) are designed to fit over upper and lower choppers, so the teeth don’t touch. These mouthpieces lessen the harmful effects of teeth clenching or grinding. They can also correct the patient’s bite by putting teeth in a preferred position.
Your dental care provider can replace your missing teeth and use bridges or crowns to balance the biting surfaces of your choppers. Braces and other orthodontic appliances can also help correct a bite problem that could be causing TMD problems.
Medications, plastic mouthpieces, and dental work are the standard treatments for TMD. If you don’t get well with these treatments, your dentist may suggest other treatments such as an ultrasound, radiotherapy, low-level laser therapy, trigger-joint injections, and trans-cutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. If these alternatives don’t help, surgery may then become an option. Surgery is irreversible, so your dentist will only suggest it if everything else fails.