Non-surgical vs. Surgical Treatment
Non-surgical & surgical treatments for TMJ disorders usually fail. The reason for this is because jaw position is not addressed, an incorrect appliance is used (a night guard is not designed to treat TMJ disorders) and a Daytime appliance is not used.
History of Non-surgical Treatment of TMJ Disorders
Dental schools spend very little time teaching dental students about TMJ disorders. Dentists who have tried to treat TMJ disorders have become frustrated because treatment, in most cases, almost always fail and the patient is usually no better than before treatment. Sometimes the patient’s condition becomes worse.
The training provided to dental students and dentists regarding the treatment of TMJ Disorders and Craniofacial Pain is often based on out of date thinking, information and treatment.
Traditional way TMJ disorders are treated:
A night guard is fabricated for the patient and they are instructed to wear it only at night OR if the patient is in severe pain they are instructed to wear the night guard 24 hrs a day except when they eat. Medications are also prescribed such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, narcotics for pain and/or muscle relaxers. Patients are instructed to stay on a soft diet and to use moist heat several times a day.
This type of treatment always fails!
The reason is because jaw position is not addressed. A regular night guard only protects teeth from wearing down or fracturing when clenching or grinding your teeth. Night guards are not designed to treat TMJ/TMD Disorders or Craniofacial Pain! If your jaw is clicking, popping, intermittently catches or locks OR your jaw use to click or pop but now you can’t open as wide anymore the above treatment will always fail.
Predictable Non-surgical Treatment of TMJ Disorders
TMJ Disorders require at least 2 different appliances to be worn. Without the use of 2 different appliances TMJ disorders cannot be treated. A nighttime and a daytime appliance must be worn 24 hrs a day including when eating!!! These appliances are worn at different times of the day and place the jaw in a specific position to stop the clicking, popping and pain. Medications are not prescribed and the patient is not restricted to a soft diet.
Patients usually feel significantly better within 2 to 3 weeks but treatment takes 4 to 6 months on average because the ligaments in the jaw joint needs time to heal. The daytime appliance is used temporarily (4 to 6 months) but the nighttime appliance is used indefinitely. Treating TMJ Disorders non-surgically in this fashion is very predictable!
Surgical Treatment of TMJ Disorders
Treating TMJ disorders with surgery has been done for many years. The results are often unpredictable and are the reason why most oral surgeons don’t treat TMJ disorders. In my opinion surgery is never an option or indicated. Clicking or popping joints to a locked jaw can be treated non-surgically.
If you have clicking or popping joints, TMJ pain, your jaw catches or locks periodically or you have limited opening, you do not need to suffer from TMJ symptoms any longer. Call Bay Area TMJ & Sleep Center today to schedule a comprehensive evaluation.