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tmj treatment options

What are my TMJ Treatment Options?


Do you know where your temporomandibular joint is? This is a small, round joint on either side of your skull that controls the opening and closing of your jaws. You probably never think about your temporomandibular joint unless you’re experiencing issues with jaw function. When these joints malfunction, it leads to an ailment called temporomandibular joint disorder—also known as TMD or TMJ disorder. Millions of people just like you suffer from TMJ disorder, and many of them never receive a proper diagnosis. If you have this disorder or you are suffering from symptoms of TMJ disorder, receiving treatment from a qualified medical professional is key. In this article, Lake Forest Smiles explores your treatment options for TMJ disorder.

At-Home Treatments for TMJ Disorder

When it comes to cases of TMJ disorder, seeking the least invasive method of treatment is ideal, according to current guidelines from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. These self-care strategies may include:

  • Eating a diet that consists of soft foods that are easy to chew when you’re experiencing symptoms of TMJ disorder
  • Refraining from biting your fingernails, chewing on ice or pencils, or chewing gum
  • Using heat, cold compresses, or a combination of the two
  • Taking over-the-counter pain relief medication
  • Using relaxation techniques or self-massage to alleviate jaw tension

However, these treatments are merely to help reduce symptoms in the short term and do not actually address the cause of your pain.

Finding the Right Professional Treatment for TMJ Disorder

Home remedies might alleviate symptoms of TMJ disorder in the short term but won’t provide lasting relief. TMJ disorder is a serious medical condition that only will become more serious as time passes. That’s why you need to be treated and seen by a medical professional with the experience and training to identify and treat a case of TMJ disorder. For TMJ treatment in Lake Forest, you want to seek out the care of a neuromuscular dentist. Why? A neuromuscular dentist has gone through rigorous post-graduate education and training that emphasizes finding or restoring the ideal alignment of the jaws. This training makes a neuromuscular dentist the ideal choice to solve the challenge of correctly diagnosing a case of TMJ disorder and then providing treatment.

In the spirit of the “less is best” philosophy, your Lake Forest neuromuscular dentist can use conservative TMJ treatments:

  • Physical therapy exercises to relax and strengthen the jaw muscles
  • The use of prescription medicines such as pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and muscle relaxants to alleviate discomfort
  • TENS therapy, which uses low-voltage electricity to relax tightened joints and muscles
  • Adjusting the bite to achieve optimal jaw function
  • Prescribing an occlusal splint—a customized mouthguard that brings the jaws into their ideal position, reducing the amount of stress of the temporomandibular joint and bringing the jaws back into harmonious alignment

In extreme cases of TMJ disorder, treatment may entail jaw surgery, but the use of surgery is extremely rare.

TMJ Disorder Treatment in Lake Forest

As mentioned above, many people who have TMJ disorder never receive proper diagnosis or treatment. That means they live with the symptoms of TMJ disorder, which often include pain that may be so severe it proves debilitating. You don’t have to live with the pain and disruptions that come from TMJ disorder. Seek treatment from the neuromuscular dentists at Lake Forest Smiles today. We can evaluate you by examining your jaw, your bite (how your teeth come together), and other structural indicators to determine if you are suffering from the disorder. To find out more, schedule your consultation by calling (847) 234-4800.

For more than 30 years, Lake Forest Smiles has been proud to serve patients in the areas of Lake Forest, Lake Bluff, and Lincolnshire in Illinois.

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