Less invasive treatment therapies for Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction sufferers in San Francisco
Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction (TMJ/TMD/TMJD) afflicts more than 10 million Americans, according to estimates from the National Institute of Dental and Cranial Research. TMJ/TMD/TMJD is a collection of disorders that affect the jaw and muscles that control jaw movement.
While most people experience jaw discomfort at some point in their lives, for TMJ/TMD/TMJD sufferers, the symptoms can impact their quality of life to the degree that even sleeping and eating become difficult. The chronic jaw ache and limited jaw function are not easily relieved through over-the-counter analgesics or pure rest.
Dr. Arellano diagnoses TMJ/TMD/TMJD through a battery of evaluations including dental x-rays, panoramic or CT scan radiographs that show the teeth and bone structure around the TMJ joint, and a comprehensive patient history to assess your specific symptoms.
Treatment therapies for TMJ/TMD/TMJD can range from physical therapies to extreme surgical procedures to repair or replace your jaw. Today, TMJ/TMD/TMJD experts recommend that the best course of action is to begin with less invasive, more conservative methods. Dr. Leo Arellano is a San Francisco-area dentist expertly using innovative oral appliance devices to give relief to TMJ/TMD/TMJD sufferers.
There are several types of oral appliances to treat TMJ/TMD/TMJD. Repositioning splints work by moving the jaw into a new position that relieves pressure on the jaw joint. A second type, a stabilization splint, covers the upper or lower teeth and has a flat plate that helps keep patients from grinding their teeth (bruxism) and reduces sore jaw muscles. A third option is a modified splint that keeps the upper and lower jaws separated to prevent the back teeth from clenching and grinding against each other.
Oral appliance therapy is part of a comprehensive treatment program provided by Dr. Arellano that also incorporates lifestyle adjustments to optimize effectiveness. This can include:
- Avoid sleeping on your side, and use a pillow to support your shoulders and neck properly.
- Therapeutic jaw exercises to loosen muscles and promote healing.
- Moist heat using a warm towel or heat packs to reduce jaw joint pain.
- Avoid cradling a telephone in your crook of your neck, which can exacerbate TMJ/TMD/TMJD.
- Using your fist as a chin support when you yawn to prevent over flexing your jaw muscles.
To learn more about today’s treatments for TMJ/TMD/TMJD; contact Dr. Arellano at 415-881-4343.