TMJ Dysfunction – What is it and how can it be treated?

By David Coletta, MPT, CMPT
david@excelptmt.com

Treatment

As with any orthopedic problem, the most important step in treating TMJ Dysfunction is to obtain the proper diagnosis by a specialist. Some physical therapists, dentists, and medical doctors are specialty trained in TMJ Dysfunction. Myalgia is the easiest presentation to resolve and treatment can involve simple self-massage exercises, range of motion exercises, nonprescription anti-inflammatory medication, and ice/heat to the face. Treating joint dysfunction of the TMJ involves exercises to re-educate joint motion and fabrication of an oral appliance (acrylic splint) to fit over the teeth, altering joint motions and forces. I would suggest that only specialist dentist fabricate an oral appliance. These devices are expensive and often have to be remade when a dentist who does not understand the intricacies of TMJ fabricates them. Combined joint dysfunction/myalgia requires the combination of treatment approaches.

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