The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is responsible for connecting the lower jaw to the skull. Pain can sometimes develop in this joint and the surrounding muscles and is commonly known as TMJ disorder. In New Britain, CT, the Gladstein Dental Center offers treatment for this and many other dental issues to help patients enjoy a bright and healthy smile for life. The following are three ways a dentist can help soothe pain and discomfort caused by TMJ disorder.
How Can a Dentist Help With TMJ Disorder?
When a patient suffers from TMJ disorder, the first course of action is usually medication. Anti-inflammatory medicines and painkillers can have some impact on the condition, and prescription medications may be administered if over-the-counter drugs prove ineffective. A dentist might also prescribe a muscle relaxer, but these are typically taken on a short-term basis.
2. Physical Therapy
The next step involves the application of physical therapy. Some dentists utilize muscle-stretching exercises, as well as the application of heat and ice to the jaw, to increase blood flow and decrease swelling. Mouth guards are another common treatment that can help prevent teeth grinding from occurring, as this can lead to inflammation and damage.
3. Surgery & Additional Procedures
In the event of severe TMJ disorder, a dentist might look to other procedures. Corticosteroid injections are one possible treatment that can help reduce swelling within the joints. An oral surgeon may also use arthroscopy, which entails using small instruments to relieve pressure caused by inflammation. A condylotomy is another option, and, unlike other procedures, this concerns the mandible itself, as opposed to the joint. In most cases, surgery is only used when a patient experiences significant pain and discomfort or when lockjaw is an issue.
As a trusted family dentist in New Britain, the team at Gladstein Dental Center believes in putting the needs of patients first when offering top-quality dental care. See the full range of available services by visiting this practice online. You can also call (860) 223-1162 to schedule your next dental appointment.