Treatment of TMJ Disorders
Treatment is generally directed at correcting disorders of the temporomandibular joint and affiliated structures. These disorders may be caused or aggravated by clenching and grinding of the teeth, traumatic injury, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, lupus or other degenerative diseases. Stress often plays a major role in causing TMJ disorders. Recent findings have found a connection between TMJ problems and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), also called Hyperandrogenic Anovulation (HA) or Stein-Leventhal syndrome. Headache is a common symptom of PCOS and can be a sign of involvement of the TMJ.
Treatment generally involves the use of nonsurgical procedures to relieve symptoms and to correct the underlying causes of the TMJ disorder. Surgery, while rare, may be required in acute or emergency situations. Treatment is geared to help alleviate the patient’s painful symptoms, allow for stabilization and healing and to help the patient to manage their condition more successfully. Normal procedures may include wearing of a splint, brace or appliance to help reduce muscle hyperactivity so stress on the TMJ is decreased. In most cases, use of the splint is diagnostically successful and many times wearing of the splint can be discontinued after a few months. The splint is custom made, hard processed acrylic made to allow the jaw to function from mutually protected occlusion. Use of anti-inflammatories and other medications as well as home and office physical therapy are used on an individual basis and are coordinated with the patient’s medical doctor.