TMJ Treatment

TMJ Technology: 5 Promising Treatments for TMJ

April 25, 2022
A woman struggles with chronic TMJ pain
I

f you struggle with chronic jaw pain, you may have a temporomandibular joint disorder. Temporomandibular joint disorders are often called TMJ, which is a serious, but often treatable condition.

Historically, treating TMJ disorders meant surgery, but thanks to advancements in TMJ technology, your chronic jaw pain can often be relieved without surgery. Because it is our philosophy to avoid TMJ surgery whenever possible, let’s talk about 5 promising non-surgical treatments for TMJ that utilize the latest in TMJ technology.

How to tell if you have TMJ

Before we get too much further, let’s quickly review how to tell if you have TMJ. For an accurate diagnosis, you will need to see your dentist or your doctor (and sometimes both). But there are a few tell-tale signs and symptoms of TMJ that you can look for. 

As we detail on our website, “If you’re experiencing jaw and tooth pain, facial pain, ear pain and congestion, headaches, or neck, shoulder and back pain, you could have TMJ. TMJ can also cause numbness in the arms, hands, and fingers, along with clicking, popping, or locking of the jaw.”

If any of this sounds like you, make an appointment with your dentist or doctor right away so they can help you regain your quality of life. 

Is TMJ serious?

We are often asked if TMJ is serious, and the best answer is that it certainly can be. 

In some cases, the Cleveland Clinic says, TMJ may go away on its own. For example, “ if you’ve had a TMJ flare-up due to a temporary period of stress, your symptoms will likely subside once the stress is no longer a factor. However, if your TMJ pain is due to jaw misalignment or the way your teeth fit together, you will likely have chronic problems that will only improve with treatment.”

If your chronic TMJ doesn’t go away on its own, then you’ll want to get it treated to avoid the long-term effects of TMJ. Elsewhere on our website we explain, “ Putting off TMJ treatment can lead to additional dental health issues. The grinding and clenching of teeth can lead to fractured teeth and worn-down enamel. Sufferers of TMJ tend to favor one side of the jaw over the other which can cause swelling on one side of the face and unsymmetrical muscle growth.”

 Since treatment may well be recommended, let’s explore those non-surgical solutions created by TMJ technology.

Jaw Muscle Relaxation Instruments

A good first step in TMJ pain relief is the use of technology to help your muscles relax. Here are some examples of this TMJ technology:

TENS Units

TENS units are small electrical devices that send a (harmless, when used correctly) electrical impulse to the muscles that open and close your mouth. If your chronic TMJ happens because you clench or grind your teeth, this impulse can help your muscles to relax.

Electromyography sensors

This TMJ technology are sensors that tell doctors whether your muscles are relaxed and your bite is properly aligned. The sensors can tell if your jaw movement is still inhibited by misalignment. 

Jaw orthotic devices

Once your jaw muscles are relaxed, your dentist can tell if realigning your bite will help your chronic jaw pain. If so, and this is often the case, they will recommend and help to create an orthotic device to hold your jaw in place. These can be temporary and removable or permanent.

Removable devices

If you suffer from TMJ, your dentist may decide to utilize an Anterior Repositioning Appliance. The ARA, as we explain on our website, “allows for the lower jaw to re-nestle itself in a larger upper jaw.  With this appliance, we are now able to help patients with sleep apnea, poor posture, and can allow the lower jawbones to accommodate all the teeth in a place that is in harmony with jaw joints, vertebrae, and muscles of the head and neck. 

This is the essence of Face-forward Orthodontics or Jaw Development orthodontics or Orthopedic Orthodontics which allows the lower jaw to come down and forward creating happier muscles and more room in the joint space.”

Veneers/Crowns

Sometimes your dentist will conclude that the best way to treat your chronic jaw pain or chronic facial pain is by fixing your teeth to realign your bite. Using crowns and or veneers, your dentist will re-shape your smile to better align your jaw. This is a permanent (in most cases) solution to TMJ.

Permanent orthotic braces

The last TMJ technology we want to discuss is permanent orthotic braces. These are devices that are permanently placed in your mouth that will realign your bite. There are a variety of devices that your dentist may recommend. You can learn more about them here.

Want to learn more about potential TMJ treatment options. Click here to learn more.

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