I’ve been recently diagnosed with TMJ dysfunction was told I would need to be fitted for a splint that I would wear for 69 months until my symptoms went away and then I would need to look at more permanent option like orthodontics. This doesn’t seem to reflect a lot of the research I’ve been doing. Most of what I’ve been reading seems to say that TMJ is very poorly understood and they aren’t really sure how to treat it. I’ve read that splints can be effective but it varies from person to person and they shouldn’t be worn over an extended period of time. I also read that irreversible options such as braces should be avoided. Doing less seems to be the preferred method of treatment. So now I’m really confused. Do I go ahead with what the doctor recommended or do I try lifestyle changes such as correcting my posture, minimizing stress, etc which seems to be supported my credible institutions and organizations.
We are glad to know that you have been doing some of your own research on TMJ Dysfunction. The cause of temporomandibular dysfunction is unclear and can be difficult to treat at times however some things that can contribute to this disorder are grinding and clenching of the teeth, stress, a bad bite, and arthritis. Wearing a splint can relieve a lot of symptoms like a popping and clicking jaw, headaches and earaches, as well as in the prevention of grinding and clenching of ones teeth. This disorder can last for a short time and go away on its own or last for years. At times orthodontics is recommended especially if your bite if off. Having braces may eliminate your TMJ dysfunction but not a guarantee. If patients experience severe symptoms and a split is not working for them surgery is recommended however this is very rare. Making some lifestyle changes is not a bad idea and may help relieve some pain therefore reducing stress, eating soft foods, exercise, and not chewing gum to name a few. Placing ice or heat packs on the side of your face may also help in relieving some discomfort.
Post courtesy of Dr. Malone, Lafayette Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist