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TMJ Disorder Treatment: 3 Noninvasive Options

TMJ disorder treatment Grand Rapids MI dentists

TMJ disorder treatment Grand Rapids MI dentists

For mild to moderate jaw pain, the most serious ways of approaching care aren’t always the best to go with, at least not at first. Because of this, our Grand Rapids, MI, dentists, prefer to meet and fully assess your condition before tailoring a TMJ disorder treatment plan to you.

Here are 3 easy to manage TMJ therapy options that don’t involve surgery.

Multi-Step Examination Process

While not all jaw issues are immediately TMJ dysfunction, oral pain is still something that should be taken seriously. Our team of dentists will utilize several diagnostic methods and possibly even consult with your primary care doctor to be sure what you’re experiencing is indeed a TMJ disorder.

First, we’ll start with a dental exam where we’ll observe:

  • How well you can open/close your mouth (range of motion)
  • Whether you notice discomfort if certain areas of your face or jaw are pressed
  • The feeling of your jaw joints as you open/close your mouth

Anything abnormal found will be further examined using dental X-rays. Looking beneath the surface will allow our dentists to confirm any suspicions they may have and gather additional information that can influence your treatment. If our dentists believe that other scans, i.e., CT or MRI, are needed, we will let you know.

Treatment of TMJ Discomfort May Result In:

1) The Creation of a Custom Bite Splint

Unlike products you might find at the store, our bite splints are created to fit your mouth and your mouth only. Because they’re custom-made using an impression of your teeth, these dental appliances are more comfortable when worn and are capable of keeping your jaw in a better position.

There’s no metal used in the construction of the bite splint as our dentists favor hard acrylic resin instead. Depending on the design, the splint may cover a few or all of your upper or lower teeth, similar to how a mouth guard fits, but less bulky.

If your TMJ pain is associated with excessive teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism), bite splints also come in handy for this as well. You may be instructed to wear the device during the day if necessary but oftentimes, it is only worn at night or while you’re home.

2) Instruction to Start Stretching Exercises

When you’re tense before or after a workout, stretching can help you loosen up. In a similar vein, running through a list of TMJ exercises every day can relieve pain you’re feeling in your jaw and face as a whole. Keep in mind, however, that these exercises are not recommended for instances of severe pain and should only be done once any heightened discomfort has subsided a bit.

Our dentists can give you pointers on how to start a TMJ exercise regimen and even demonstrate how the moves are performed if you’d like to see for yourself. In general, these variations on opening and closing the mouth can:

  • Make the jaw muscles stronger
  • Help relax the jaw
  • Lead to greater jaw mobility and better healing
  • Reduce the instance of jaw clicking

3) An At-Home Application of Heat & Ice (+ Massage)

Comforting heat and a refreshing ice pack are always a great combination when it comes to aches and pains. Our dentists recommend placing warm, moist heat on the side of your face that is bothering you most. You can also put the ice pack in the same spot as well but only leave it in place for 15 minutes at a time, covered in a thin towel.

When you’re taking a break from the heat and ice, try gently massaging your jaw muscles for a few minutes. Pace yourself and try to not be too rough with your movements.

Make an Appointment

Our TMJ dentists in Grand Rapids, MI, can help you explore pain relieving options so you can get back to a normal way of living. Call Contemporary Family Dental today at (616) 209-3969 to schedule an appointment.