Denver TMJ - Treatment of TMJ
Dentists use a variety of treatment modalities which may be divided into Phase I and Phase II Therapy. The purpose of Phase I Therapy is to eliminate muscle spasms, TMJ swelling and dislocation (if possible), and generally reduce any type of pain. This treatment usually includes the use of splints, exercises, medication, local anesthetic injections, injections of other medications, physical therapy and chiropractic treatment.
The purpose of Phase II Therapy is to definitively correct any discrepancies, if necessary, between the upper and lower jaws. Phase II Therapy may include adjustment of the dental occlusion, orthodontics, reconstruction of the teeth, surgery, or a combination of some of the above treatments. It is important to note that Phase II Therapy should not be attempted without successful Phase I Therapy modalities.
Phase I Treatment. Phase I treatment for TMJ is conservative treatment, producing no irreversible changes. Generally, the use of an intraoral splint, medications, chiropractic or physical therapy, and life-style changes are very effective in treating most truly TMJ problems. Other disorders which mimic TMJ (for example, temporal tendonitis, Ernest syndrome) are often treated with Phase I therapy with medications, injections of local anesthetic and other medications, and soft tissue treatment.
Phase II Treatment. Phase II treatment is, by definition of the American Dental Association, non-reversible, invasive therapy. Adjustment of the occlusion (adjusting the "bite"), orthodontic treatment, the placement of crowns, and surgery of all types most certainly produce changes which can't be reversed. Therefore, it is most important that no one undergoes Phase II Treatment until a correct diagnosis is established and proven as the cause of the symptoms.
Last of all, if a TMJ sufferer is experiencing severe emotional and/or psychological problems (which if often the case for many reasons), failure to address these most important issues will virtually guarantee a surgical failure. Psychological (as well as physical) problems must be considered as sources of unresolved pain complaints involving the TMJ or associated structures.
If you or a family member or friend who suffers with a TMJ problem has doubt or unresolved pain, get a second or even third opinion before any Phase II Treatment is initiated.