TMJ/TMD Treatment in Atlanta, GA
Temporomandibular disorders, or TMD, are a group of disorders that affect the TMJ (temporomandibular joint). At Creative Dentistry of Atlanta in Atlanta, GA, we’ve had plenty of patients suffering from TMD and know how bad it can affect a person’s life.
The TMJ is the joint connecting the lower jawbone to the rest of the face. We have two TMJs, one on each side, and they’re located right in front of our ears. TMD leads to difficulties in chewing and even speaking. They can also be incredibly painful and limiting. That’s why prompt and efficient treatment of TMD is something we focus on here at Creative Dentistry of Atlanta.
Causes of TMD
TMD has many causes. Perhaps trauma is the most prominent one. Those who are involved in an accident or fight and receive trauma to the face can end up suffering from TMD due to damage to the joint and cartilage. Grinding your teeth also causes TMD and is something we frequently see due to the stresses of life.
Rheumatoid arthritis is another potential cause of TMD. It’s a systemic disorder characterized by damage to multiple joints. The hands are most commonly involved, but in some cases, the TMJs are affected too.
Treatment of TMD
Our first goal in treating one of our patients with TMD is to make them comfortable. This can be done using painkillers like NSAIDs. Muscle relaxants are also relied upon initially. Sometimes NSAIDs and muscle relaxants alone are enough, especially in people who have TMD due to stress and jaw muscle spasms.
More severe cases might need intra-articular steroids. This means the injection of corticosteroids into the joint space to relieve inflammation. Our final treatment option is surgery, which can be done through open surgery or arthroscopy. Arthroscopy relies on inserting a thin tube with a camera and tools at the end of it into the joint.
We prefer arthroscopy because it’s less invasive and leads to less post-op discomfort. If the procedure can’t be done through arthroscopy, then we’ll need to rely on the open method. We’ll go step by step and see what works and what doesn’t.