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How is TMJ treated?

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Quick Answer

There are a combination of treatments that can help to alleviate the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMJ, including at-home remedies, pain killers, dental treatments and surgical options, according to WebMD. Since TMJ can cause severe pain and discomfort, relieving pain can be an important treatment option in addition to other procedures performed by a dentist or specialist doctor.

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How is TMJ treated?
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Full Answer

Over-the-counter medications can help to relieve the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help with both pain and swelling. Applying heat or ice packs can also help to reduce pain. Ice should be applied first for about 10 minutes to the side of the face, followed by a warm compress for about 5 minutes.

Avoiding difficult-to-chew foods can also prevent further pain. Eating softer foods will keep the mouth from opening too widely. In addition to this, practicing proper posture and avoiding excess pressure on the mouth and teeth can help to prevent additional jaw issues.

For minor cases, a dental procedure can be performed by a dentist. If these more traditional methods do not properly fix the issues associated with TMJ, then surgery may be needed. There are three types of surgery for treating TMJ: arthrocentesis, which is a minor procedure performed on those patients who have no history of TMJ and who are suffering from a locked jaw; arthroscopy, which is performed with an arthroscope and is somewhat invasive but still considered minor surgery and open-joint surgery, which is more invasive, carries more risk and requires more recovery time.

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