Your doctor or dentist will discuss your symptoms and examine your jaw. He or she will probably:
Listen to and feel your jaw when you open and close your mouth
Observe the range of motion in your jaw
Press on areas around your jaw to identify sites of pain or discomfort
If your doctor or dentist suspects a problem, you may need:
Dental X-rays to examine your teeth and jaw
CT scan to provide detailed images of the bones involved in the joint
MRI to reveal problems with the joint’s disk or surrounding soft tissue
TMJ arthroscopy is sometimes used in the diagnosis of a TMJ disorder. During TMJ arthroscopy, your doctor inserts a small thin tube (cannula) into the joint space, and a small camera (arthroscope) is then inserted to view the area and to help determine a diagnosis.
In some cases, the symptoms of TMJ disorders may go away without treatment. If your symptoms persist, your doctor may recommend a variety of treatment options, often more than one to be done at the same time.
Along with other nonsurgical treatments, these medication options may help relieve the pain associated with TMJ disorders:
Pain relievers and anti-inflammatories. If over-the-counter pain medications aren’t enough to relieve TMJ pain, your doctor or dentist may prescribe stronger pain relievers for a limited time, such as prescription strength ibuprofen.
Tricyclic antidepressants. These medications, such as amitriptyline, are used mostly for depression, but in low doses, they’re sometimes used for pain relief, bruxism control and sleeplessness.
Muscle relaxants. These types of drugs are sometimes used for a few days or weeks to help relieve pain caused by TMJ disorders created by muscle spasms.
Nondrug therapies for TMJ disorders include:
✔ Oral splints or mouth guards (occlusal appliances). Often, people with jaw pain will benefit from wearing a soft or firm device inserted over their teeth, but the reasons why these devices are beneficial are not well-understood.
✔ Physical Therapy Along with exercises to stretch and strengthen jaw muscles, treatments might include:
☑ Moist and Ice
☑ Joint mobilizations (Intra oral and extra-oral)
☑ Soft Tissue releases
Jaw stability exercises
☑ Neck stretches and posture exercises
✔ Counseling. If stress is a major trigger for your jaw pain we will refer to Counselling services.
Lifestyle and Home Remedies
Becoming more aware of tension-related habits — clenching your jaw, grinding your teeth or chewing pencils — will help you reduce their frequency. The following tips may help you reduce symptoms of TMJ disorders:
✔ Avoid overuse of jaw muscles: Eat soft foods. Cut food into small pieces. Steer clear of sticky or chewy food. Avoid chewing gum. ✔ Stretching and massage: Your doctor, dentist or physical therapist may show you how to do exercises that stretch and strengthen your jaw muscles and how to massage the muscles yourself. ✔ Heat or cold: Applying warm, moist heat or ice to the side of your face may help alleviate pain.
Complementary and alternative medicine techniques may help manage the chronic pain often associated with TMJ disorders. Examples include:
✔ Acupuncture: A specialist trained in acupuncture treats chronic pain by inserting hair-thin needles at specific locations on your body. ✔ Relaxation techniques: Consciously slowing your breathing and taking deep, regular breaths can help relax tense muscles, which can reduce pain. ✔ Biofeedback: Electronic devices that monitor the tightness of specific muscles can help you practice effective relaxation techniques.
What you can do
You may want to prepare a list that answers the following questions:
✔ When did your symptoms begin?
✔ Have you ever had this occur in the past?
✔ Has your level of stress increased recently?
✔ Do you have frequent headaches, neck aches or toothaches?
✔ What medications and supplements do you take regularly?
What to expect from your Physiotherapist
They may ask some of the following questions:
✔ Is your pain constant or do your symptoms come and go?
✔ Does any activity seem to trigger the pain?
✔ Does your jaw click or pop when you move it? Is that clicking painful?
✔ Is it difficult to open your mouth normally?
Your doctor or dentist will ask additional questions based on your responses, symptoms and needs. Preparing and anticipating questions will help you make the most of your time.