Silver Spring Cosmetic Dentists Explain TMJ Disorders, PART 3: Treatment Options
Silver Spring Cosmetic Dentists Explain TMJ Disorders,
PART 3: Treatment Options
This four-part article series provides an in-depth explanation of Temporomandibular Joint
Disorders (TMD), looking at causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
Welcome back to our four-part article series on the causes, symptoms and treatment options for
the disorders that affect the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), the articulating joint between the
jawbone and temporal plate of the skull. In our previous article, the second installment of the
series, an experienced dentist and orthodontist in Silver Spring MD described the various
symptoms of TMD before explaining the various checks dental healthcare specialists do in order
to diagnose the condition. In this article and the next, we shall take an in-depth look at the
treatment options facing Silver Spring residents with TMD.
The Treatment Options for TMD
“Treating TMD is far more complex than simply taking a course of
prescribed medication,” explains a Silver Spring cosmetic dentist. “The
kind of treatment we recommend also depends substantially on how
severe a patient’s condition is. Usually, the best approach is to begin
with conservative therapy, which should appease the symptoms. If the
symptoms persist, surgery may ultimately be required.”
In this article, an orthodontist will explain the non-surgical treatment
approaches. In Part 4, the final installment of the series, we’ll look at the
Basic Temporomandibular Disorder Treatment
Most Silver Spring cosmetic dentists agree that the best way to treat TMD is to begin with a
combination of conservative therapies. The goal of these therapies is to reduce inflammation and
swelling, alleviate pain and eliminate the source of stress or strain aggravating the TMJ.
� Adjust Your Diet: Refrain from eating hard,
crunchy foods (hard candy, crisps, raw
vegetables, ice, caramels) and foods that require
you to stretch open your mouth to fit. Rather,
stick to a softer diet (yogurt, soup, cooked
vegetables, mashed potato, fish, etc.) for a few
weeks or as recommended by your dentist. Cut
smaller bites and chew gently. You’re trying to
rest the TMJ and give the swelling and
inflammation a chance to subside.
� Heat and Cold Therapy: Apply an ice pack to your temple for approximately 10 minutes.
Your orthodontist will show you how to perform some easy jaw stretching exercises, which
you should subsequently do. After stretching, press a warm, moist towel to the same temple
region for five minutes. Repeat this procedure two to three times a day.
� Medication for the Symptoms: The orthodontist in Silver Spring may prescribe you
some pain medications (for example, Aleve, Advil or Motrin) to help alleviate the discomfort
and swelling associated with TMD. You may also be required to take muscle relaxants,
especially if the cause behind your TMD is determined to be teeth grinding and jaw clenching.
� Nighttime Night Guards and Splints: Wearing a mouth guard at night when you are
more likely to grind and clench your teeth prevents the damage these bad habits have on the
biting surfaces of the teeth, as well as lessening the stress it puts on the TMJ. A mouth guard
or splint (which is worn all the time and not just at night) will also position the teeth correctly,
eliminating the joint strain caused by a bad bite.
� Resting the Jaw: “Simply resting the jaw joint by avoiding extreme movements, eating soft
foods and keeping yawning to a minimum, you can give the TMJ a chance to heal, thus
reducing pain and inflammation” explains the Silver Spring cosmetic dentist. “Other
habits to avoid include resting your chin on your hand or cradling a telephone between your
ear and neck. Bad posture can also exacerbate TMD. Sit up straight!”
� Seek Treatment for Dental Problems: If a bad bite is to blame for your TMD, you may
need to seek corrective dental treatment for crooked or missing teeth! Balancing the biting
surfaces of your teeth will eliminate any strain on the TMJ caused by a bad bite.
� Keep Your Mouth Slightly Parted: For as long as possible during the course of the day.
This will reduce the pressure on the TMJ and prevent you from clenching or grinding your
Stay Tuned for Part 4
To find out what the Silver Spring cosmetic dentist has to say about what surgical treatment options are available for
TMD, stay tuned for the final installment of this four-part article series!