Problems with your temporomandibular joint are also sometimes known as TMD or TMJ Disorder Whatever you call it, TMD can be a serious, regular source of a lot of pain. You may think there’s nothing you can do about it, but that assumption is wrong.
We have many new developments for treating temporomandibular disorder. Dr. Joseph Z. Yousefian of Yousefian Orthodontics for Children, Teens and Adults explains more about your options.
What causes TMD
The temporomandibular joint is like a hinge that moves your jaw. When it’s working properly, you probably never notice it. But when it’s not working well, your jaw may get stuck when you open it or make a clicking sound when you chew.
We don’t always know what causes TMD. It is more common in women than men and is most common among those 21-40. Some other factors that may contribute to developing TMD include:
- Arthritis in the joint
- Grinding or clenching your teeth, which puts a lot of pressure on the joint
- Previous history of dental surgery or orthodontic work
Although these are only some of the possible causes, the one thing that all TMJ disorders have in common is that the hinge that opens and closes your jaw doesn’t always function smoothly.
Treatments for TMD
If you have temporomandibular joint disorder, you are probably a little frustrated with your inability to get answers about how to treat it. More doctors are becoming aware of TMD, but far too few still know how to treat it. Some of the treatments we may use include the following:
You probably already know about Botox from its more common cosmetic uses. This highly purified form of Onabotulinumtoxin A Is used to smooth out wrinkles on your forehead and around your mouth.
When we inject Botox into the muscles around your jaw, your jaw muscles often relax. You may find that your TMD pain begins to lessen after a Botox injection, although you’ll usually need another treatment about 3 months later.
Platelet-rich plasma, or PRP, has gotten a lot of positive attention. When you choose PRP, your blood will be drawn from your arm, just like a standard blood draw. Then we put it into a machine called a centrifuge, which separates the components of the blood.
What you’re left with is an extremely concentrated form of plasma that contains far more platelets than usual. When this is injected into a part of your body — in this case, your jaw muscles — it can stimulate your body’s natural ability to heal itself.
Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
If you have chronic pain that doesn’t seem to respond well to other treatments, you may find relief in a treatment called transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS.)
A small electrical current is applied to your skin, relieving the pain in the muscles underneath. Most patients start out with a lower amount of electrical current, which is then raised until you receive relief from your symptoms.
Radio wave therapy
This form of treatment uses radio waves to bring stimulation to the joint, which promotes healing.
An ultrasound machine delivers deep heat to the muscles of your joint, which very often provides healing. We may need to repeat this more than once.
Finding the right solutions for treating your TMD may require some trial and error, but we’re committed to helping you live a pain-free life. Call or message Dr. Joseph Z. Yousefian at Yousefian Orthodontics for Children, Teens and Adults in Bellevue, Washington, to request an appointment.