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What Is the Solution to My TMJ?

What Is the Solution to My TMJ?

Whether you took a blow to your face, are suffering from arthritis, grind your teeth, or you just got saddled with some unlucky genes, the fact is you have temporomandibular disorder (TMD), also called TMJ. 

Because your jaw joint (temporomandibular joint) is so complex, with rotating and sliding parts, it takes an expert to diagnose and treat TMJ. Dr. James. E. Butler at Innovative Dental Ideas in Hilliard, Ohio has more than three decades of experience caring for patients who suffer from this painful condition, and he offers the most advanced treatments. 

If you’ve been living with TMJ pain and are looking for a solution, here’s what you can expect at Innovative Dental Ideas. 

What is TMJ?

TMJ is both the name of your jaw joint and the name of the condition that occurs when your jaw joint malfunctions. 

If anything interferes with your jaw’s ability to move properly, it’s considered a TMJ disorder. In mild cases, a little self-care at home is all that’s needed to restore function and eliminate pain. But when the pain persists and is accompanied by locking of the joint, clicking noises, difficulty chewing and yawning, and radiating discomfort in your face and ears, it’s time to get help.

Who can diagnose and treat TMJ?

Your jaw generally falls under the purview of dentists, but not all dentists have the education and training to accurately diagnose and treat TMJ.

Dr. Butler has studied TMJ extensively and is certified by the International Academy of Facial Aesthetics, so he’s highly qualified to handle even the most complex cases. 

What is the best solution for TMJ?

The best solution for your TMJ depends entirely on what’s causing it and how severe it is. Here are a few of the treatments that may solve your TMJ.

Self-care

TMJ causes painful inflammation, so one of the most effective ways to reduce your symptoms is to apply hot and cold therapy, which helps about 75% of people with TMJ. 

Cold packs applied to the area for about 15 minutes every couple of hours decreases inflammation, reduces pain, and promotes healing.

Moist, warm packs increase your blood flow and relax your jaw muscles. A washcloth soaked in warm, not hot, water applied to the area for about 20 minutes may bring comfort.

Eating soft foods that don’t require your jaw to work too hard allows your muscles to rest and heal. 

Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen, also reduce inflammation and reduce pain. 

If your pain persists for several weeks, and you can’t get enough relief from at-home remedies, it’s time to come see Dr. Butler.

Medications

Often, TMJ responds well to prescription medications that are stronger than what you can buy at your local drugstore. 

Dr. Butler may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication, a pain reliever, a muscle relaxant, or an antidepressant, which may reduce your pain and ease your bruxism (teeth grinding), if that’s the cause of your TMJ.

Mouthguards

If you grind your teeth at night, Dr. Butler may prescribe a custom-fit mouthguard to ease the pressure on your jaw and relax your muscles. This not only relieves your TMJ pain, but also saves your teeth from wear-and-tear that can lead to cracks and fractures.

Botox®

You may know Botox as a cosmetic treatment used to smooth out deep facial creases. It works because it temporarily paralyzes the muscles responsible for those dynamic wrinkles.

When Dr. Butler injects Botox into the muscles involved in your jaw function, it does the same thing — it stops those muscles from tensing up and causing pain. 

The treatment only takes a few minutes, and you should start to notice relief in a day or two. The effects wear off in about six months or so, but during that time, your jaw is pain-free and has the chance to heal.

Bite treatment

If maloclusion, or a bad bite, is causing your TMJ, Dr. Butler may opt to treat the problems by adjusting your bite. Missing teeth, crowded teeth, and crooked teeth can all throw your bite off, so depending on your situation, you may need orthodontic treatment, a tooth extraction, or dental implants to realign your bite and ease your TMJ symptoms. 

The bottom line is you don’t have to live with TMJ pain if you come see Dr. Butler. Schedule an appointment by calling our friendly staff or using our online booking tool, and you could be out of pain in just a few days. 

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