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Dr. Schraw in Baxter Village Near Fort Mill Explains TMJ Treatment Options

A person in need of TMJ therapy in Baxter Village near Fort Mill, SC

Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts as a hinge connecting your jawbone to your skull, facilitating essential movements like chewing, speaking, and yawning. When this complex joint encounters dysfunction, it can lead to a myriad of debilitating symptoms called TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder manifests differently among individuals, presenting challenges in diagnosis and treatment. At Smiles by Design Dental Spa, we understand the symptoms and causes of TMD and provide TMJ treatment options in Baxter Village near Fort Mill, SC. Our dentist, Dr. Schraw, knows how to treat TMD and is available to help you manage the disorder and alleviate its associated discomfort. This blog post will further explain what causes TMD, its symptoms, and TMJ disorder treatment. Let’s get into it!

What Causes TMJ (a.k.a. TMD)?

TMD has no singular cause because many factors, or a combination of different factors, can trigger it. Let us address them. 

1. Jaw Injury

Trauma to the jaw, whether from a sports injury, a car accident, or other types of physical impact, can damage the structures of the temporomandibular joint. This damage may involve the joint, the surrounding ligaments, or the muscles controlling jaw movement. 

2. Teeth Grinding or Clenching

Bruxism is a habit characterized by grinding or clenching of the teeth, often unconsciously, during sleep. This repetitive activity can significantly pressure the joint, leading to inflammation, muscle fatigue, and structural damage. 

3. Arthritis

Various forms of arthritis, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, can affect the temporomandibular joint. Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage covering the bones in the joint wears down over time. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation of the synovial membrane lining the joints, including in the jaw. Both types of arthritis can result in TMJ dysfunction, pain, and limited mobility.

4. Malocclusion

Malocclusion refers to the misalignment of the teeth when the upper and lower teeth do not fit together properly. This can result from genetic factors, abnormal tooth development, or habits like thumb sucking or prolonged pacifier use during childhood. Misalignment can create imbalanced forces on the temporomandibular joint, leading to strain and dysfunction.

5. Stress

Psychological stress can manifest physically in the body, leading to muscle tension and an increased likelihood of clenching the jaw or grinding the teeth. Chronic stress can contribute to the development or exacerbation of TMJ disorder by promoting habits that strain the joint and its associated muscles.

TMJ Symptoms

Temporomandibular joint disorder is accompanied by symptoms like jaw pain, jaw stiffness, jaw locking, muscle stiffness, headaches, ear pain, and facial discomfort. These symptoms can vary in severity and may affect one or both sides of the face. TMJ disorder can interfere with everyday activities such as eating, speaking, and yawning, and it may also lead to tension headaches, migraines, and ear-related issues like tinnitus.

How To Treat TMJ Disorder

The best way to know how to treat TMJ disorder is by assessing the severity of the pain and its underlying causes. The standard procedure is to try noninvasive treatment options such as nonsurgical treatments or medications. Jaw surgery might be needed if symptoms persist. 

Several types of prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications can be used to alleviate TMJ symptoms. Some of these medications include pain relievers, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxers, and antidepressants. Non-surgical TMJ treatment options include mouth guards, ultrasound therapy, behavioral changes, trigger point injections, and physical therapy. 

Other TMJ disorder treatments in Fort Mill, SC, include:

1. Botox for TMJ

Botox injections offer a temporary yet effective solution for TMJ disorder by relaxing overactive jaw muscles, improving jaw function and muscle tension, and reducing pain. By blocking the release of acetylcholine and weakening the muscles responsible for jaw clenching and teeth grinding, botox for TMJ relieves individuals suffering from related symptoms. Note that botox for aesthetics differs from that which is used to treat TMJ disorders. Botox for TMJ is a non-invasive treatment option with potential benefits lasting for three to six months, though repeated injections may be necessary for sustained relief. 

2. TMJ & Head Pain Treatment

TMJ disorders often come with head pain, such as migraines or headaches, making effective treatment crucial for easing discomfort and improving quality of life. Treatment strategies for TMJ-related head pain include dietary changes, stress management, physical therapy, and oral appliances. Surgical intervention or botox for TMJ may be considered in severe cases to address persistent symptoms.

Dr. Schraw with TMJ treatment options in Baxter Village near Fort Mill, SC

TMJ Therapy in Baxter Village Near Fort Mill, SC

We’ve got you covered if you’re looking for TMJ treatment options in Baxter Village near Fort Mill, SC. Smiles by Design Dental Spa offers TMJ therapy to patients with temporomandibular joint disorders. Our treatment options include physical therapy, pain and stress management, and, in some cases, botox for TMJ and botox for aesthetics or surgical interventions. Contact our dental practice to schedule an appointment with our dentist today! Your pearly white smile and oral health are our priorities.

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