Relieving TMJ Pain Without Surgery
Dr. Dustin J. Hopkin offers nonsurgical treatments to alleviate the painful effects of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder at his Salt Lake City, UT, practice. While many people may experience jaw pain at some point, treatment is recommended when the pain becomes chronic and begins to affect a patient’s day-to-day activities. Dr. Hopkin is skilled at treating TMJ non-surgically; however, he can provide surgical remedies when absolutely necessary.
What is TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the hinge that connects the lower jaw to the base of the skull. When this joint fails to function properly, it can cause joint and muscle pain. TMJ pain can be the result of stress and grinding or clenching the teeth. In some cases, however, TMJ disorder is a result of arthritis or some sort of trauma. Patients in their late teens or early 20's may experience jaw pain that is often caused by the eruption of their wisdom teeth. Many of these patients experience TMJ pain relief after the wisdom teeth are removed.
Dr. Hopkin prefers conservative, non-invasive, and non-surgical treatment options as a first line of treatment for TMJ disorder.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
Jaw pain is the most obvious sign of TMJ disorder. Patients may also experience more generalized pain in the face or neck. Other symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Stiffness in the jaw joint or surrounding muscles
- Jaw locking or limited movement
- Difficulty opening or closing the mouth
- Clicking, grinding, or popping sensation when moving the jaw
It is important to note that a clicking or popping sound does not necessarily indicate TMJ disorder.
Diagnosing TMJ Disorder
To properly diagnose TMJ disorder and develop an appropriate treatment plan, Dr. Hopkin will review a series of radiographs and images from a cone beam computerized tomography (CT) scanner. Additionally, he may also order MRIs. These images will allow him to evaluate the structure and function of the joint. Once he diagnoses the problem, he can recommend the best course of treatment.
TMJ Treatment Options
Dr. Hopkin prefers conservative, non-invasive, and non-surgical treatment options as a first line of treatment for TMJ disorder. Many patients see a noticeable reduction in painful symptoms shortly after beginning these treatments and do not require surgery. Non-surgical TMJ treatments may include:
- Oral appliances such as a mouth guard or occlusal splint
- Steroid injections to reduce inflammation
- Restorative dental work or orthodontics to correct a malaligned bite
- Athrocentesis to remove fluid and treat arthritis in the joint
Surgery for TMJ disorder is typically a last resort treatment option if nonsurgical methods are unsuccessful. Dr. Hopkin typically recommends TMJ surgery only in extreme cases.
Contact Hopkin Oral Surgery
If you are suffering from TMJ pain, surgery is not the only way to find relief. Dr. Hopkin employs a variety of different non-surgical treatment methods to alleviate TMJ pain and avoid the need for invasive surgery. To learn more about our TMJ disorder treatment options, call our office at (801) 277-3942 or contact Hopkin Oral Surgery online to schedule an appointment.