TMD Treatment Options San Francisco
Symptoms that do not interrupt your daily activities and the pain can be described as only a one or three on a ten-point scale, then TMD is often manageable through self-care options. For self-care treatment of TMD, you can often attempt the following:
- Hot and Cold Packs – Apply an ice pack or cold compress to the affected area for about 10 to 15 minutes. In doing this, you can reduce swelling and inflammation. To improve circulation to the area while reducing pain, you can also add moist heat to the painful area.
- Facial Stretching Exercises – Stretches that can help reduce tension in the jaw might be recommended by a doctor or physical therapist for relief. Be sure to perform these exercises as directed in order to stretch the jaw muscles to relieve any muscle tension.
- Eat Soft, Small Foods – Think about foods that don’t require too much chewing or require you to open your mouth too wide. Foods such as soup, scrambled eggs, yogurt, beans and cooked, diced fruits and vegetables are easier to eat than foods that are hard, crunchy, chewy, thick or large.
- Avoid High Tension Jaw Movement – Moving your jaw in excessive force can strain the joint and the muscles that open and close the mouth, and hamper treatments aimed at reducing the pain. Yawning and chewing should be kept to a minimum, as well as singing and yelling.
- Over-the-Counter Medicine – Medications used for pain relief, such as naproxen can help to minimize the experience of pain while reducing inflammation. A doctor may also prescribe stronger pain medications for pain relief as needed.
If your symptoms or pain are more severe, and at-home self-care is not providing you relief, it might be time for an oral appliance.
Another form of treatment is a decompression orthotic, which holistically decompresses the jaw. By placing it over the lower back teeth it creates a gentle separation to reduce the compression in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It is initially used for painful joint compression or dislocated discs as it helps to restore them back to position.
As the joint becomes re-aligned, the associated muscle tension from an arthritic, dislocated, or damaged TMJ is reduced or eliminated over a couple of months. It is a simple appliance that requires adjustment to match the restoration of the joint.
Oral Appliance Therapy San Francisco
Oral appliances may help reduce tension on the jaw muscles and the joint. Permanent changes in the bite through extensive crown or bridgework and orthodontics have not been proven to be effective and may worsen TMD symptoms. If a contributing factor is teeth grinding or clenching, an advanced splint called an orthotic can be worn while sleeping. Clenching and grinding cannot be stopped but the oral appliance will help prevent tooth-to-tooth wear. The goal is that TMD symptoms will be reduced as the affected area experiences a period of reduced irritation and use.
In other instances, if your TMD condition is so far gone that physical treatment has been proven ineffective, more invasive procedures are available for relief. However, special care must be taken before deciding to undergo any invasive solution. Surgical treatments are often irreversible and remain controversial, as they have not been proven effective by any studies or research. For this reason, San Francisco TMJ and Sleep Specialist Dr. Larson will utilize his knowledge of your symptoms to put together the most effective oral appliance treatment plan for relief from your TMD pain. With proper treatment, clenching or grinding can be vastly reduced or eliminated.