TMJ pain is better described by the modern term TMD (temperomadibular dysfunction). Pain from the TMJ can happen a number of different ways. Many dentists, therapist, pain specialists and others treat TMJ pain from a variety of different standpoints.
When I address TMJ pain with a patient, I'm first looking at things from a muscular perspective. I do this because I feel it is the most overlooked aspect of most patient's care.
My short-term goals for a TMD patient are to:
- Correct muscular dysfunction with myofascial release techniques.
- Reduce swelling and inflammation with Cold Laser and Class IV Laser Therapy.
- Ultrasound for tendon and ligament derangement.
- A detailed home-care protocol.
Here are two things that I do not do with my TMD patients:
I do not manipulate the TMJ joint. Some doctors will aggressively treat TMJ by manipulating the TMJ joint to correct motion restrictions. I personally feel this can be too harsh on the disc within the TMJ and is usually not worth the risk.
I do not use Orthotics or Splints. While many dentists and orthodontists use this as a primary method of treatment, I do not. I will co-manage cases with dentists who are utilizing this method by request of the dentist.