During a physical exam with for TMJ therapy, your doctor, Aram Cazazian at Bayside Family Dentistry in Bayside, NY will do a number of things. He will listen to your jaw and feel it as you open and close your mouth. He will check the range of motion in your jawbone. He will press on different areas located around your jaw to determine sites of pain and discomfort.
If the doctor or dentist at Bayside Family Dentistry thinks there may be a problem with your teeth or jaw, you will need dental X-Rays or a CT scan. This will provide images of the bones that are involved in the joint. MRIs will be able to reveal problems with the joint’s disc.
TMJ arthroscopy is often used in diagnosing TMJ disorder. During this procedure, the doctor will insert a cannula into the joint space. This is a small thin tube. He will also use an arthroscope which is a small camera to see the area and help with determining a diagnosis.
Sometimes the symptoms of TMJ disorder will go away on their own without treatment. However, if you continue to suffer through the symptoms, your doctor or dentist might suggest various treatment options. Some of them are done in conjunction with others.
There are several nonsurgical options, including medication. These can include painkillers and anti-inflammatory medication. Ibuprofen, Advil, and Motrin are some examples of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that may be prescribed. You might also be given tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline. These were once intended for depression but can now also be used for pain relief. You might also be given muscle relaxants. They can be used for days or weeks to help relieve pain.
There are nondrug therapies out there that can help with TMJ. These include oral splints or mouth guards. People with jaw pain can often experience relief from wearing either a soft or firm prosthetic that’s inserted over the teeth. You can also try physical therapy such as ultrasounds, heat and ice, and different exercise that will strengthen and stretch jaw muscles. Counseling is another option for understanding the different behaviors that exacerbate your pain, like teeth clenching and grinding, leaning on your jaw, and biting off your fingernails.
When other methods aren’t working, your doctor or dentist may suggest surgery, such as arthrocentesis, injections, TMJ arthroscopy, modified condylotomy, and open-joint surgery. If Bayside Family Dentistry does recommend surgery, find out all your options and ask any questions you might have.