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How Do Dentists Treat TMJ?

You might suffer from a temporomandibular joint disorder if you experience regular headaches, jaw pain, and earaches. With many symptoms and causes of TMJ, discovering the true cause can be difficult.

The treatment process for TMJ highly depends on how severe the condition is and how much pain the patient is experiencing. The first step in diagnosing TMJ is consulting a dentist specializing in TMJ treatment. A qualified dental professional will evaluate all aspects of your condition and develop a personalized treatment plan. If you are suffering from TMJ, click here for TMJ Dental Treatment in Lafayette, IN. Read on to learn how dentists treat TMJ.


Mouthguards are soft plastic custom-fitted to your mouth. They protect the teeth and jaw from injury, which reduces TMJ pain. The best mouthguard depends on what kind of TMJ pain you have and how severe it is.

A mouth guard, similar to those used in sports, can be custom-fit by your dentist. This one is designed specifically to be worn while you sleep. When you try to grind your teeth, it stops your upper and lower teeth from touching.

As a result, you are less prone to experience jaw pain first thing in the morning. Your teeth will be spared the wear and tear. Remember that bruxism can be a symptom or cause of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).

Botox for TMJ

Dentists treat TMJ with Botox injections. Botox effectively reduces the pain and discomfort of TMJ by relaxing the jaw muscles, which can be extremely tight and sore. This muscle relaxation allows patients to relax their jaw and avoid clenching it.

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) is a treatment for TMJ that uses high-energy sound waves to treat painful symptoms. It is a non-invasive, drug-free alternative to oral surgery and other invasive procedures.

ESWT uses focused, high-energy sound waves to stimulate healing in the damaged tissues of your TMJ. The treatment delivers millions of tiny shock waves into your jaw joint. These shock waves cause tiny vibrations that stimulate bone growth and encourage new blood vessel formation, which can help repair damaged tissue.

Self Care

Patients diagnosed with moderate TMJ are given a set of self-care instructions. Because each patient’s TMJ condition is unique, the specific instructions given to them will be tailored to their specific needs. Reducing stress, avoiding jaw movements, don’t chew gum, using ice, avoiding hard foods, and performing jaw exercises.

Here are some jaw exercises:

  • Open Mouth Stretch. Keep your chin and your head still, and open your mouth widely. Maintain the stretch for 5-10 seconds while keeping the tongue in a neutral position, and then gently close your mouth without clenching your jaw. Perform up to ten repetitions.
  • Push jaw stretch. Put your tongue at the roof of your mouth and move your jaw forward. For 10 seconds, maintain this position, and then slowly and steadily retract your jaw. Perform it multiple times.
  • Gliding jaw stretch. Maintaining a neutral head position, carefully and slowly moving the jaw from side to side. Hold the jaw in this position for 5-10 seconds on each side, increasing the time as comfort increases.
  • Relaxation. While seated, loosen your jaw and focus on drawing breath through your nose. Next, gradually release air from the mouth while keeping the jaw loose and at ease. Do it multiple times.
  • Closing resistance exercise. Squeeze the chin between your index fingers as you open and close the mouth slowly. The resistance is felt in the jaw with every shift.
  • Open resistance exercise. You’ll strengthen your jaw muscles if you place your thumb firmly under your chin and slowly open your mouth against the chin’s resistance. Do this for 5 seconds and then repeat.

Prescribed Medication

Your dentist may prescribe medication for your TMJ disorder. Your dentist may recommend the following medications:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. These include ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol).
  • Antidepressants can help reduce headaches caused by tension in your jaw muscles. You can take
  • Muscle relaxants help reduce muscle spasms in the jaw area and elsewhere in the body, like neck stiffness or back pain. You can use metaxalone or alprazolam.

If you have TMJ, your dentist can offer some relief. You will likely be prescribed medication and a mouth guard to wear at night while you sleep. It’s important to keep your treatment regimen regularly. The muscles used for chewing stretch out as you age; treatment, mouthguard, self-care, using ice, and stress reduction will help them regain their elasticity and function.