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TMJ Treatment

Find Relief From TMJ Pain

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects the lower jaw to the skull and is located in front of the ears on either side of the head. When this joint is not functioning properly, it can cause mild to severe discomfort, making it difficult to eat, speak, or move the jaws.

Dr. Holtzen, a board-certified oral and maxillofacial surgeon, offers various treatment options for patients experiencing TMJ disorders. Whether surgical or non-surgical, our goal is to provide relief from TMJ pain and improve jaw function. If you are experiencing ongoing TMJ pain or want to explore your treatment options, contact our office in Missoula or Hamilton, MT, to schedule a consultation.

Causes of TMJ Pain

TMJ pain often occurs when the jaws are misaligned, but the exact cause of TMJ disorders is not always known. Bite problems can lead to improper jaw joint function and excessive wear on the teeth. TMJ pain can also result from jaw or facial injuries, or develop gradually over time.

Stress and anxiety can contribute to TMJ pain as well. When we are stressed, we may clench or grind our teeth unknowingly, causing tension in the facial muscles and strain on the TMJ. This can lead to inflammation, pain, and headaches.

Fortunately, there are various approaches to treating TMJ disorders, regardless of the cause. Orthodontics can correct misaligned bites and improve overall smile alignment, while surgical intervention may be necessary for severe cases or joint injuries.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorders

TMJ disorders can manifest differently in each individual. Mild cases may cause intermittent discomfort, while severe TMJ problems can result in chronic pain. Common symptoms of TMJ disorders include:

  • Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
  • Jaw or facial pain
  • Pain or fatigue in the jaw while eating
  • Headaches
  • Clicking or popping sounds when opening and closing the mouth
  • Earaches
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Changes in bite
  • Difficulty moving the jaw side to side or forward and back
  • Pain when touching the TMJ area

Addressing TMJ disorders early on can prevent the condition from worsening and significantly impacting your quality of life. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we encourage you to contact our practice for evaluation and treatment.

Types of Anesthesia

Our practice offers several types of anesthesia and sedation.

Treatment for TMJ Disorders

The appropriate treatment for TMJ disorders depends on the severity of the condition. During your initial visit, Dr. Holtzen will use 3D scans of your mouth and head to assess your facial anatomy, as well as the bones and tissues surrounding the TMJ.

Non-Surgical TMJ Treatment

Conservative approaches are typically attempted first when treating TMJ disorders. These non-invasive techniques have proven effective for many patients and may eliminate the need for surgery. Non-surgical treatment options may include:

  • Oral medications, such as pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, or muscle relaxants
  • Oral splints
  • Night guards
  • Physical therapy
  • Stress management techniques, including counseling, meditation, or medication

Surgical TMJ Treatment

If conservative methods fail to provide relief, surgery may be necessary. Prior to any procedure, we will help you choose the appropriate anesthesia option to ensure your comfort. Surgical treatment options for TMJ disorders may include:

  • Arthrocentesis: Inserting a small needle into the joint to irrigate and remove debris and inflammatory byproducts
  • Corticosteroid injections
  • Arthroscopy: Inserting a small camera to visualize the TMJ and perform necessary procedures
  • TMJ arthroplasty: Open joint surgery

Experience Exceptional Oral Surgery Care

We are committed to providing exceptional care to our patients and prioritize your comfort, safety, and satisfaction throughout your treatment. Contact us today to learn more about our practice, the services we offer, or to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you achieve a healthy and beautiful smile.