Serving patients in Plano, Farmers Branch, North Dallas & Carrollton
Patients with temporomanibular jaw bone (TMJ) disorder frequently seek the advice and assistance of Dr. Hampton, a skilled dentist in North Dallas, to help relieve their symptoms. Although TMJ symptoms can range from mild to severe, patients should not wait until they have unbearable pain or damage cosmetic treatments including veneers or dental implants before turning to Dr. Hampton at The Hamptons Family & Cosmetic Dentistry for help.
What Is TMJ?
TMJ is an increasingly degenerative condition of the jaw bone and surrounding region. Symptoms, such as headache or dizziness, can be periodic or mild, or they can become so bad that it is painful to chew. Specific TMJ symptoms include:
- A jaw that locks or gets stuck when opening the mouth
- The sound of popping, clicking or grinding that occurs when opening and closing the mouth
- Painful opening or closing of the mouth
- Painful chewing
- Swelling or inflammation of the face and neck area
- A limited range of motion of the mouth
Possible TMJ Treatments
In certain circumstances, TMJ may get better on its own. However, if symptoms do not clear up on their own, Dr. Hampton can recommend special techniques to relieve discomfort and pain. He can also refer TMJ patients to a trusted specialist if needed.
Medications. Certain medications may help relieve TMJ symptoms, especially when used in conjunction with additional nonsurgical treatments. For instance, over-the-counter pain relievers may help reduce mild discomfort, and prescription pain relievers can be used for more severe pain caused by TMJ. Another option is a tri-cyclic antidepressant. Although this may sound odd, amitriptyline and other tri-cyclic antidepressants have been shown to relieve TMJ pain. Muscle relaxants can be taken on a temporary basis to treat painful symptoms caused by TMJ. In addition, Dr. Hampton may recommend a sedative, such as clonazepam, to relieve teeth clenching at night.
Non-Pharmaceutical Treatments. To help relieve TMJ symptoms, Dr. Hampton may recommend non-pharmaceutical treatments in lieu of or in addition to medication. One option is to use a bite guard, also referred to as an oral splint. Another option is physical therapy. Physical therapy treatments include ultrasound therapy, applying heat and ice, and engaging in specific exercises to strengthen and stretch jaw muscles. Dr. Hampton may also advise counseling to help educate patients about the behaviors or circumstances that may be contributing to TMJ pain. That way, patients can avoid these behaviors. For instance, clenching or grinding teeth, leaning on the chin, or biting fingernails may be the culprit behind TMJ disorder.
Surgical/Medical Procedures. If none of the above seems to improve TMJ symptoms, Dr. Hampton may suggest a surgical or medical procedure, such as arthrocentesis, which involves inserting needles into the joint to irrigate it and flush away debris, toxins or inflammatory byproducts that may be contributing to TMJ. Injections, including corticosteroid substances or botulinum toxin (e.g. Botox), may also help relieve symptoms when injected into jaw muscles. As a last resort, Dr. Hampton may refer TMJ patients to a surgical specialist who can repair or replace the joint. However, surgery comes with inherent risks and should only be pursued when all other options have been exhausted.
To find out more about TMJ treatment near Addison or Lewisville, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hampton, please contact The Hamptons Family & Cosmetic Dentistry by calling (972) 395-9292.