At DP5th, we take a conservative approach to TMJ, starting with non-invasive treatments like intraoral appliances, physical therapy, medications and exercises before turning to surgical procedures. Read more to learn about our TMJ treatment in NYC.
TMJ Treatment in NYC
Intraoral appliances help take the pressure off a sore jaw joint and promote decreased tooth grinding at night, helping to relax sore muscles. The appliance fits over your upper or lower teeth to prevent them from touching and grinding. You may be prescribed a night appliance, which is required only while you sleep, or an appliance that is worn all the time. Your doctor will decide which appliance is best for you.
Physical therapy includes massaging, stretching, hot and cold compresses, ultrasound and other modalities that promote muscle relaxation, decrease inflammation and promote tissue repair. We work with physical therapists who will train you in a home-exercise regimen to hasten recovery and prevent pain from returning.
Medications commonly include anti-inflammatory and mild muscle relaxants to reduce teeth clenching and grinding. Medications may also include topical ointments, injections and other forms of over the counter and prescription medication depending on the exact nature and severity of the problem. Anti-anxiety medication may be prescribed in low doses to relax the jaw muscles and control muscle pain.
To release tension from your jaw, avoid extreme movements and overuse of your jaw muscles. Try and stay away from yawning and eliminate chewing gum. Excessive jaw movements over-exercises your jaw joint which creates tension in the muscles near your ears and jaw. If you’re experiencing jaw pain at home and can’t make it to the dentist, apply a warm, moist towel or a pack of ice to the affected area to alleviate pain.
It’s important to pay attention to your posture. Many of us have a tendency to lean forward while reading from a computer or cell phone. This posture leads to neck and back strain. Neck and back strain create more pain in and around your jaw muscles. Try to sit up with your back straight and avoid resting your jaw and face in your hands.
Similar to chewing gum, steer clear of tough foods that overwork your jaw. Try eating soft foods, like yogurt, soup, cooked vegetables, or eggs. You may also want to cut your food into smaller pieces so you don’t have to chew as much. Hard, crunchy, thick or chewy foods require additional jaw strength that may make your jaw pain even more uncomfortable.
What causes TMJ?
It’s often hard to pinpoint the cause of TMJ because jaw pain can potentially stem from many different factors. For some, TMJ may be genetic. However, TMJ is also linked to arthritis, jaw injury, dental surgery, tooth grinding, and even braces.. Additionally, stress may cause you to clench your teeth or tighten your jaw muscles which leads to increased TMJ symptoms. Knowing the cause of your TMJ can help you better treat the pain and avoid jaw tension in the future.