Muscle Relaxers and Physical Therapy for TMJ Disorders

If you notice pain in your jaw, you may be dealing with one of the many types of TMJ disorders. This condition may cause spasms of the facial muscles and clicking or popping sounds in the jaw. Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders typically make eating and talking painful or difficult. The dentist may recommend different treatments for the condition, including muscle relaxers and physical therapy. In this article, you will discover how these two options can help patients with TMJ disorders.

How to detect TMJ disorder

If the patient experiences headache and jaw pain due to problems in their TMJ, then other symptoms are likely to show up as well, including:

  • Difficulty with biting and chewing
  • Clicking or popping sounds during jaw movement
  • Earaches and pain in the facial muscles
  • Tender jaws
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Restriction when opening or closing the jaw

Millions of Americans suffer from a type of TMJ disorder. Knowing the symptoms and receiving the appropriate treatment is crucial toward getting permanent relief. Patients who are experiencing frequent headaches, accompanied by some of the symptoms listed above, need to consult their dentist about TMJ disorders. Treating the issue and not just managing the symptoms will ensure that the patient can find a long-term solution.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy is one of the options that the dentist will recommend for relieving jaw pain. The physical therapist can create a treatment plan that comprises learning and practicing methods of restoring normal jaw mobility. The objective of physical therapy as a treatment for TMJ disorders is relaxation, stretching and freeing tight muscles and scar tissues. Physical therapy forms a crucial part of recovery after a TMJ surgery since it helps reduce chances of scar tissue formation and free up the muscles.

The physical therapist will examine the patient to develop a plan customized to their specific symptoms, general wellbeing and age. Common methods under physical therapy for treating TMJ include:

  • Physical activities to increase range of motion and jaw muscle strength
  • Massage to ease muscle tension
  • Heat and ice treatment to relieve pain and inflammation
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), which involves applying a mild electrical current to the skin over the temporomandibular joints to disrupt pain signals, ease muscles and enhance blood circulation.
  • Ultrasound therapy, which involves the use of high-frequency sound waves to alleviate pain and swelling.

Although some of these treatment options seem unconventional, they have all been proven to be effective as part of a holistic treatment plan for TMJ disorders. These physical therapy treatments may also be suggested during recovery for patients who have to undergo surgery for TMJ disorders.

Muscle relaxers

A dentist may also recommend muscle relaxants to alleviate jaw ache and discomfort caused by a TMJ disorder. They are effective for relaxing or easing jaw and facial muscles and reducing muscle spasms. Since muscle relaxants are powerful medications, the dentist may recommend their usage for only a few days or a few weeks. A good example of muscle relaxant for TMJ disorders is diazepam (such as Valium)

In conclusion

Muscle relaxers and physical therapy can be effective in treating TMJ disorders. Contact the dentist as soon as you notice pain or other symptoms of the disorder.

Request an appointment here: or call Asha Dental at (913) 440-4199 for an appointment in our Leawood office.

Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Read our Yelp reviews.

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Surgical TMJ Treatment

TMJ is a fairly common issue, though the level of severity varies. Of course, many TMJ complications can be treated without the need for surgery. When less invasive treatment procedures fail, however, surgical TMJ treatment might be required to relieve the symptoms. 

Information about TMJ surgery

It is helpful to understand more about surgical TMJ treatment and when it might be necessary to make an informed decision as to whether this treatment is right for you. The following is everything to know about TMJ surgery, including how the process works and when it might be recommended by a dentist. 

What is surgical TMJ treatment?

Surgical TMJ treatment might refer to a variety of different procedures, and the exact type of surgery is dependent on the precise issue of the patient. Several common types of surgical TMJ treatment include: 

  • Arthroscopic surgery
  • Arthrocentesis
  • Open-joint surgery
  • Corticosteroid injections

TMJ arthroscopy and arthrocentesis is a less invasive surgical procedure and one that an oral surgeon might utilize in order to minimize discomfort. For more serious cases, open-joint surgery might be performed to reduce long-term pain caused by TMJ complications. Corticosteroid injections have been known to relieve discomfort in some patients as well.

How the process works

The first step toward surgical TMJ treatment is to schedule an appointment with a dentist, during which they will document the patient’s symptoms and conduct a physical evaluation. In most instances, treatment most likely starts with less-invasive options, such as lifestyle changes and medication. If the issue does not improve over time, however, the dentist might recommend TMJ surgery in order to relieve the symptoms long term and ensure that future complications do not develop. Once the patient agrees on the form of TMJ surgery that is most appropriate, a day and time is scheduled for surgery.

Who is TMJ surgery for?

TMJ surgery is for anyone who struggles with symptoms of a TMJ disorder that does not improve over time. Several common TMJ disorder symptoms include the following: 

  • Jaw pain
  • Earache
  • Facial pain
  • Locked jaw
  • Difficulty chewing

TMJ disorder often leads to an inability to do certain daily tasks, such as eating or talking for long periods of time. An inability to move the jaw freely is a common symptom as well. Individuals who are considering TMJ surgery should also be willing and able to go through the surgical process. 

Talk to a dentist about TMJ treatment

Surgical TMJ treatment may not be a fun experience, but it is often a necessary step on the road to a full recovery of a TMJ disorder. If you are struggling with discomfiting TMJ disorder symptoms and want to find out more about how treatment can help you feel and function better, consult with us today and schedule a time to come in for your first visit. Here at our office, we have the staff and resources necessary to carry out TMJ treatment, including surgery when it is needed. 

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What is TMJ and How Can I Treat It?

Thinking a TMJ diagnosis just may be in your near future? TMJ stands for temporomandibular joints, which are the joints located on either side of your head and connect your jaw and skull together. These joints play a very important role when it comes to opening your mouth, closing your mouth, chewing and talking. Some of the more common symptoms include a clicking or popping sound when opening and closing the mouth, discomfort when the mouth is open wide, headaches, earaches and an overall feeling of tenderness in the jaw area.

What causes TMJ?

Wanting to understand what is causing your jaw problems? A TMJ diagnosis is common when experiencing the above symptoms. Since it is not always obvious what causes TMJ, it is necessary for a dental professional to perform an overall examination in order to come up with a proper diagnosis. Some of the more common causes include suffering some type of injury to the jaw area, clenching or grinding one’s teeth, experiencing jaw alignment problems or being diagnosed with arthritis.

According to the American Dental Association, the two temporomandibular joints are among the most complex joints in the body, and they work together in a delicate balance with muscles, ligaments, cartilage and jawbones. When a problem prevents these parts from working together properly, pain may result.

How can TMJ be treated?

Once a dental patient has been diagnosed with TMJ, a dental professional can provide them with a proper treatment plan. The following is a list of three of the more common types of TMJ treatments available nowadays.

Minor to moderate TMJ

Minor TMJ cases are often treated using natural approaches. These alternative methods include performing certain muscle exercises that support a healthy jaw, avoiding eating any hard or sticky foods that can irritate the jaw and using cold and hot compresses in order to minimize any discomfort or pain.

Moderate to severe TMJ

Moderate cases of TMJ can be treated using certain medications and certain types of injections. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications are commonly prescribed, as well as muscle relaxers, both of which help to relax the jaw area. Corticosteroid injections are also an option, as they help to reduce any pain or swelling located in the jaw area.

All types of TMJ

All types of TMJ can often be treated by using orthodontics. Orthodontic treatment helps to correct any underlying causes of TMJ and can include wearing night guards and wearing braces. The goal is to help reposition the jaw area in order to move it back into its proper position. When the jaw and teeth are in their proper alignment, dental patients are less likely to experience any TMJ-related problems.

Do not let your symptoms worsen

When TMJ is not treated in a timely manner, it will continue to cause tooth and jaw alignment problems. It can potentially lead to chronic jaw pain and ongoing headaches, which is something you want to avoid happening. This makes it essential for you to contact a dental professional so you can be properly diagnosed and receive a treatment plan that works for you.

Request an appointment here: or call Asha Dental at (913) 440-4199 for an appointment in our Leawood office.

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Are you thinking about making an appointment with a TMJ dentist in the near future? When your jaw hurts it can be due to a number of different reasons, including genetics and arthritis. Your jaw pain may also stem from bruxism, another disorder that causes people to grind or clench their teeth which often leads to various levels of jaw pain. If you are indeed diagnosed with TMJ, your treatment plan will be directly based on your particular situation.

Signs and symptoms of TMJ

Are you still wanting more information on how a TMJ dentist can help you? The most common sign or symptom of TMJ is experiencing tenderness, discomfort and/or pain in the jaw and ear area. Patients typically only feel the pain on one side of their face, but sometimes they feel it on both sides. A clicking or popping sound is also a common symptom of TMJ and occurs when someone opens their mouth too wide or when eating. Consuming food often leads to even more pain due to the movement of the jaw when chewing food.

Common causes of TMJ

While the exact cause of TMJ is not known, there are instances as well as risk factors that increase one’s chances of being diagnosed with it. Someone is more likely to be diagnosed with TMJ when their temporomandibular joint is not in proper alignment, if arthritis damages their joints or if joints receive damage through injury or accident.

When to visit a TMJ dentist for jaw pain

It is recommended to see a dentist who treats TMJ when the tenderness, discomfort or pain in the jaw area is ongoing. It is also necessary to see a dentist when someone is not able to open or close their mouth completely.

How does a dentist make their diagnosis?

An experienced dentist will need to perform a thorough examination in order to determine whether or not someone indeed has TMJ. They will carefully observe the patient’s range of motion in their jaw, making sure to feel the entire jaw area and listen carefully while performing this important procedure. If a dentist finds a problem, they will take X-rays to gather more detailed information. Taking a CT scan and/or an MRI may also be necessary. These two additional tests allow the dentist to see detailed images of the jawbones as well as any potential problems surrounding the joint’s and/or soft tissues.

Do you think you have TMJ?

Are you ready to make an appointment with a TMJ dentist so you can know for sure whether or not you are living with TMJ? Your first step is getting a proper diagnosis, which allows you to understand what is happening with your jaw. After receiving a diagnosis, we can create your treatment plan, which can include taking certain medications, taking part in specific therapies or undergoing a surgical process to correct the problem. Call us now to get started.

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A Beginner’s Guide to TMJ treatment

The temporomandibular joint, also known as the TMJ, is the joint located between the upper and lower jaws, which performs a set of complex movements allowing us to speak, chew, etc. Any problems related their mechanics can result in pain and/or impaired function and require TMJ treatment. 

What is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint syndrome, or TMJ disorder, is a condition that affects the muscles, ligaments, and nerves attached to and surrounding the ball-and-socket joints that connect our upper and lower jaws. The TMJ is responsible for many functions vital for the well-being of our body. For instance, if we are unable to open our mouth, we will not be able to eat food, drink water or keep ourselves nourished. If we are unable to chew our food, we will not be able to digest it properly. If we are unable to swallow what we eat, we can starve or become severely malnourished. These are a few of the most critical functions performed by the TMJ.

Common symptoms of TMJ disorders

The most common symptoms of TMJ disorders are pain and inflammation of the joint. There are many causes that can result in this condition, including:

  • Nocturnal teeth grinding, also known as bruxism
  • Stress
  • Malalignment of the jaws and teeth
  • Jaw dislocation
  • Bone disorders, such as arthritis
  • Direct blow or injury to the TMJ
  • Improper bite
  • Habitual jaw clenching

Causes and treatment of TMJ

While there are many ways in which TMJ disorders can be treated, it is most important to first figure out the cause of the problem. The success of the treatment depends entirely upon eliminating the cause of the pain. Management of temporomandibular joint pain may include medication, exercise and physiotherapy, lifestyle modifications and dental appliances such as night guards and bite plates.

In this case, diagnosis plays a vital role in treating and managing the condition. For instance, if a dentist only prescribes anti-inflammatory painkillers to the patient without highlighting stress as the primary cause of the disorder, the medication will eventually fail and the patient will continue to suffer. Such patients habitually clench their jaws and grind their teeth, which is why the first problem that needs to the treated is their stress, anxiety or depression.

Night-time teeth grinding is not always associated with anxiety and has been seen in both adults and children. The treatment in this case, once again, cannot only be the intervention of drugs. Specialized dental appliances such as bite plates and night guards are custom-fabricated for such patients to relieve the additional load on the joints and to prevent further damage to the enamel and dentin of the teeth. Bruxism not only damages the TMJ but also wears out the mineralized portion

Dentists can also determine if the cause of the disorder stems from problems related to jaw rotation, improper bite and malalignment of the teeth with the help of a full mouth radiograph and cephalometric analysis. In these cases, complete orthodontic treatment is advised, which uses specialized appliances and braces to fix bite, alignment, crowding, spacing and rotation-related issues over a span of 12 months or more.

If the pain and inflammation of the joint is found to be stemming from bone disorders such as arthritis (osteo, degenerative, rheumatoid or traumatic) based on radiographs, the treatment is usually a combination therapy. Patients are given non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and are advised to take a soft diet. They may also be required to wear a splint at night to minimize and control jaw movement.

In most cases, TMJ pain can be relieved with the help of muscle relaxants, NSAIDs, ice packs, massages and gentle exercises, but the complete treatment of the condition involves treating the root cause of the problem.

Let's get started

Request an appointment here: or call Asha Dental at (913) 440-4199 for an appointment in our Leawood office.

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TMJ Signs, Symptoms and Treatment Options

TMJ, otherwise known as a temporomandibular joint disorder, can be incredibly discomforting and cause one to alter their daily lifestyle to accommodate for the pain. However, there are treatment options available for TMJ, and patients can find relief through visiting a dentist.

Useful TMJ Information

TMJ can be confusing to patients, and many do not understand exactly what it is, so it can be beneficial to have a working knowledge of what it is and when treatment for TMJ is needed. The following is everything to know about TMJ, including the signs and symptoms and treatment options available.

What is TMJ?

TMJ disorder occurs when there is an issue with the jaw joint that causes a lack of movement and pain in the jaw. It is often hard to determine the exact cause of TMJ, which makes prevention difficult. It is important to visit the dentist when signs of TMJ disorder are present in order to ensure that the issue does not worsen or linger for longer than necessary. The treatment for TMJ is most often successful, and many patients improve through lifestyle changes and non-surgical remedies, although surgery is an option for patients with a more severe TMJ disorder.

Signs and symptoms of TMJ

Although each case of TMJ is different, there are certain signs and symptoms that are common. These include but are not limited to the following:

  • Jaw pain
  • Facial pain
  • Pain around the ear
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Clicking of the jaw
  • Locked jaw

Not all cases of TMJ require treatment, and many can be relieved through a change in lifestyle habits. However, anytime there is pain in the jaw or its surrounding areas, it is important to visit a dentist to find out what treatments are available.

Treatment options for TMJ

Fortunately, there is a wide range of treatment options for patients who suffer from TMJ pain. Ideally, the symptoms go away on their own, but many cases require medical intervention to improve the condition. Medications such as anti-inflammatory pain medication can help relieve some instances of TMJ, although more severe cases may require the patient wearing an oral splint or mouthguard until the condition improves. Pain that does not go away through non-surgical treatment methods may result in the need for surgery to fix the issue causing the TMJ pain.

Talk to a dentist about TMJ

Most dentists are well-equipped with the necessary resources to find out the exact root of the issue causing the TMJ pain. It is important to visit a dentist for TMJ pain that does not improve on its own, and they can conduct X-rays and an oral examination to try and find out the best form of treatment. If you suffer from TMJ pain and want to learn more about how we can help you become pain-free and get back to living life without worrying about jaw pain, then contact us and schedule a time to come in for a consultation.

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What Causes TMJ?

TMJ, also known as the temporomandibular joints, are the joints and jaw muscles located on each side of the head that make it possible for us to open and close our mouths. These joints work in unison when you chew, speak or swallow. The temporomandibular joints include the jaw bone and are made of muscles and ligaments. In conjunction with each other, they control the lower jaw (your mandible) as it moves forward, backward and side to side. 

What causes TMJ disorders?

The temporomandibular joints have a disc between the ball and socket. This disc helps cushion the impact while enabling the jaw to freely open and rotate as it likes. The jaw’s ability to widen and slide freely is key to preventing any sort of TMJ disorder. When there are any problems that prevent this complex system of joints, muscles and ligaments from properly functioning, the result is a painful TMJ disorder.

The exact cause of an individual’s TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine, as the pain could be stemming from a combination of factors such as genetics and arthritis. There are many other probable causes of TMJ disorders, such as the dislocation of the jaw, injury to the jaw/mouth area, tooth/jaw alignment issues and stress-induced habits such as teeth grinding. 

Pain and symptoms

In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders are temporary and can be relieved with self-managed care or nonsurgical treatments such as chiropractic or muscle therapy. Surgery is also a last-resort option available after more conservative measures have failed to offer any help. TMJ disorders are found more in women than in men and are common among people between the ages of 20 and 40.

There are many signs and symptoms of TMJ disorders one should be aware of. Symptoms include but are not limited to pain or tenderness in the jaw, aching pain around the temple or ears, difficulty or pain while chewing and aching or locking of facial muscles, making it difficult to open or close your mouth. Potential TMJ disorder individuals may also experience toothaches, headaches, dizziness, earaches, shoulder pain and tinnitus.

TMJ disorder treatment options

As mentioned above, there are nonsurgical treatments available to aid those with TMJ disorder. There are try-at-home remedies such as icing, pain medications and jaw stretching exercises that help meditate and relax the tense jaw muscles.

There are also over-the-counter medications that can be applied around the jaw joint for those seeking pharmaceutical relief. A mouth guard or bite plate may also be effective for those who grind their teeth. It is also recommended to cater your diet in favor of soft, easy-to-chew foods. Avoid eating hard or sticky foods, as they aggravate the jaw area in general.

Make sure to seek medical attention if these first-line treatments fail to provide relief or if jaw pain and tenderness persist. A doctor, dentist or TMJ specialist can best diagnose and discuss possible causes and treatments for a potential TMJ disorder. 

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Tooth Clenching and Grinding: 6 Long-Term Effects

Tooth clenching and grinding can wreak havoc on your teeth. Our upper and lower teeth should slide together and touch each other only when chewing food or speaking. Abnormal clenching and grinding can cause tooth wear and severe jaw problems.

The reality is that most people clench their teeth from time to time. For example, when we are angry or anxious or when our sleep is being disturbed. Tooth clenching can occur in both men and women either during the day or at night. Bruxism, or tooth grinding, while staying awake is particularly common during times of high concentration, anger or stress. On the other hand, some of us only grind our teeth during sleep. Grinding often leads to the jaw muscles being overworked and causes jaw aches and headaches.

Negative effects of tooth clenching and grinding

1. The front teeth are worn out, flat and even

The smiles of people who normally grind and clench their teeth usually develop a distinctive look. Their teeth are worn flat as if they had been smoothed using a file.

2. Broken microcracks and fillings that may eventually cause nerve damage

The average human being experiences an enamel loss of 0.3 millimeters every 10 years due to natural wear and tear. The rapid loss of enamel, which protects and strengthens teeth, leaves the person open to problems such as flaking and cracking of teeth. This leads to damaged dental restorations like crowns. If it is left untreated, it can lead to severe nerve damage over time.

3. Worn down teeth leads to sensitivity to both cold and heat

Excessive tooth wear resulting from grinding can damage teeth enamel and leave the dentin exposed.  Exposed dentin can cause sensitivity issues to both cold and heat.

4. Gum recession, caused by stress on the gum line

Tooth grinding is one of the main causes of gum recession for several reasons. When you grind your teeth, soft tissue of the gums are also affected and form pockets. Bacteria accumulates in these pockets which leads to issues such as periodontitis and gum recession.

5. Loose teeth caused by the combined effect of bruxism and damaged teeth

The grinding of teeth can be so dangerous that it can detach teeth from the jaw. In addition to the weakening of the tooth itself, this can cause some other dental issues, including the tooth falling out from its socket.

6. A headache and painful jaws due to excessive muscle fatigue

Grinding in your sleep can last 40 minutes per hour and produce up to 250 pounds of force per square inch. That is enough force to crack a nut. Besides all the other dental troubles caused by bruxism, the excessive use of jaw muscles could lead to discomfort, pain and headaches.

Do you grind or clench your teeth?

Although the original causes of tooth clenching and grinding are not well known, its long-term effects are well understood. Untreated bruxism can lead to unusual bites, missing teeth and many other dental issues. Contact our office to see how treatment can restore your smile and prevent any further damage.

Request an appointment in our Leawood dentist office here: .

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Tips From a TMJ Dentist For Making Your Treatment More Effective

TMJIf you have TMJ disorder, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, you may be interested in learning some tips from a TMJ dentist on how to make treatments more effective. TMJ disorders cause a wide array of uncomfortable symptoms that can be treated by a professional. There are a few basic steps to employ to make TMJ disorders treatment more effective.

TMJ Disorders Explained

TMJ disorder is the condition in which patients experience several limiting symptoms surrounding jaw movements. TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint, which is the jaw joint that allows people to open and close the mouth for eating, drinking, and speaking. When the movement of the joint and the tissues surrounding it is limited due to painful symptoms, the patient may have a TMJ disorder. Much is still unknown about TMJ and the causes of it. Most dentists and scientists believe TMJ disorders are due to former injuries, arthritis, fibromyalgia, teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Stress is also a possible factor. TMJ disorders are usually not permanent, but they come and go.

Try to eat soft foods when the symptoms are aggravated. Avoid chewing gum at any time because this can cause a reaction. Use ice packs to reduce swelling around the joint area. Swelling is one of the main causes of discomfort and grinding in the joint. Try not to yawn, and keep the mouth closed as much as possible. Over-the-counter pain relievers, prescription pain relievers, and anti-inflammatory medications can provide relief.

A TMJ Dentist Explains How to Make Treatments More Effective

If at all possible, avoid treatments that cause permanent changes. Since much is still unknown about the causes of TMJ disorders, we hesitate to recommend treatments like orthodontics, bridge work, or oral surgery. Since we do not know the cause, and few studies have been taken to measure the effectiveness of treatments, any permanent treatments could potentially make symptoms worse, and they could be unsafe for your dental structure.

If at-home care tips are not always helpful, visit a TMJ dentist office for more effective treatment options that are also safe and reversible. Some of the common treatments we provide are oral appliances and splints. These appliances consist of a plastic-type material that fits comfortably in the mouth.

The appliance fits over the teeth in most case, providing bite and jaw adjustments that deter night grinding and jaw clenching. Our oral appliances can help alleviate symptoms of TMJ disorders, including fatigue and morning headaches. The oral appliance fits securely in the mouth, so patients never have to worry about it falling out during sleep.

The oral appliance treatment from our TMJ dentist office works even more effectively when you also practice the tips listed above. Continue to avoid hard foods and wide mouth movements, and take pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications when needed. When symptoms are kept at bay, they do not become more severe or stay for as long when they do appear. For a better night of rest and diminished symptoms, visit our TMJ dentist office to learn more about our oral appliances and effective treatments.

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