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:
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 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.