How is TMJ & TMD Treated?
With many hours of special education, training, experience and modern diagnostic skills, we bring a great deal to the health care team addressing the special needs of the head, neck, “TMJ” or facial pain patient.
Once accurately diagnosed, conservative treatment methods rather than surgery or drugs are often the most successful for long term pain relief. This results in the teeth, muscles and joints all working together in harmony. The core of our evaluation and subsequent diagnosis is founded on the well documented comorbidity of TMJ dysfunction, headaches and sleep disorders. Dr. Lawson recognizes that jaw problems are often only a symptom secondary to a greater problem affecting the body. Very often head or facial pain is the result of clenching and grinding at night from a sleep disordered breathing problem such as sleep apnea. An evaluation of airway and sleep therefore is an important part of the assessment process for a TMD. Many of our patients who have TMJ symptoms don’t sleep well and are thrilled to learn that we will be improving sleep along with reducing pain. And many patients who are looking for solutions for snoring and/or sleep apnea are the beneficiaries of reduced TMJ pain along with airway improvement. Dr. Lawson and the TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre believes that proper diagnosis and emphasis on origin of symptoms along with understanding the concomitant relationship between TMD and OSA is the key to successful treatment.
The orthopedic and airway appliances prescribed to treat the symptoms depends on the origin of the pain. If the TMJ is the origin then a day appliance to decompress the jaw joints is required to improve healing and restore function. A different night appliance is required to keep the TMJ decompressed when lying down, reduce parafunction (clenching and grinding) during sleep and to improve the airway for better sleep and improved healing.
Often the origin of the pain is not the TM Joints rather it is a structural dysfunction or injury elsewhere such as the neck or an acute sacral injury. The result is clenching or grinding during the day that causes inflammation and pain in the jaw, facial and neck muscles. In this case the patient would be referred to a healthcare professional to treat the origin of the symptoms. A TMJ day appliance would not be required. However a night appliance would be prescribed to decompress the jaw at night, reduce parafunction during sleep and improve the airway.
The key therefore is not how you treat TMJ and TMD but understanding what you are treating and knowing when to refer.
Adjunctive treatment at the TMJ & Dental Sleep Therapy Center of Winnipeg includes:
Chiropractic, physiotherapy, massage therapy and behavioral management (stress counseling) are common referral sources in combination with decompression therapy with orthopedic appliances.
Examples of TMJ & TMD Appliances: