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From the Pines to the Palate: TMJ Treatment Options in Athens, Texas

Do you live in or near Athens, Texas? If so, you may have noticed an uptick in the number of people who suffer from TMJ dysfunction, a common condition affecting the jaw joint. But have you considered what causes and how TMJ disorder can be treated?

In this article, we’ll explore the numerous treatment options available to residents of Athens and the respective pros and cons of each method. Before we get into that, let’s first discuss a little bit about what TMJ is and what causes it.

What is TMJ?

TMJ, stands for temporomandibular joint, is the joint in your jaw that connects your jawbone to your skull. It helps with the movement of your mouth, such as speaking, eating, and singing.

When this joint becomes inflamed or dysfunctional, though, it’s referred to as TMJ disorder. While doctors don’t yet fully understand the exact cause of TMJ disorder, they believe it is a result of an underlying condition, such as arthritis, a previous injury to the jaw, or chronic teeth grinding.

Regardless of its underlying cause, TMJ disorder can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms which can significantly impact your life. These symptoms can include earaches, neck aches, headaches, a popping or clicking sound when you open your mouth, and even lockjaw.

TMJ Treatment Options in Athens, Texas

Due to the prevalence of TMJ disorder in the Athens area, there are plenty of treatment options available. Here, we’ll discuss the most common treatments, their respective pros and cons, and what to consider before seeking treatment.

Physical Therapy and Exercise

Many doctors prescribe physical therapy exercises to patients with TMJ disorder. These exercises can help strengthen the jaw muscles, improve the movement of the jaw, and reduce pain.

Plus, they can avoid some of the potential risks associated with other treatment options, such as surgery. However, while physical therapy exercises may provide short-term relief, they may not fully cure the underlying condition and therefore won’t provide long-term relief.

Medication

Many patients seek relief from TMJ-related pain by using over-the-counter pain medications (such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen). Additionally, some doctors may prescribe muscle relaxants or antidepressants to help manage pain.

While these medications are generally considered safe, some of them have unwanted or potentially dangerous side effects, such as liver failure and even dependency. Plus, the long-term use of these medications may not provide any potential benefit.

Splints or Mouth Guards

Splints or mouth guards are another common treatment option for TMJ disorder. These devices are worn over a patient’s teeth, often at night, and are designed to help reduce symptoms such as pain, jaw fatigue, and even lockjaw.

However, these devices may not fit properly or may be uncomfortable to wear. Plus, they may not effectively treat the underlying condition, potentially providing short-term relief only.

Alternative Therapies

A variety of alternative therapies (such as chiropractic care, acupuncture, and dietary changes) are becoming popular for the treatment of TMJ disorder. These therapies are often used as a complement to more traditional treatments and can help provide relief for some patients.

It is important, though, to be wary of alternative therapies. Not all of them have been proven to be effective in the treatment of TMJ disorder and some can even be dangerous.

Surgery

If a patient does not respond to more conservative treatments, surgery may be considered. The most common surgical treatment is arthroscopy, which is a minimally invasive procedure to repair or remove damaged tissue from the joint.

Yet, with any surgery, there comes the risk of complications and permanent damage. Plus, surgery may not always provide long-term relief for patients with TMJ disorder.

Conclusion:

If you or someone you know is suffering from TMJ disorder in Athens, it is important to take the time to explore all of the treatment options available. From physical therapy to surgery to alternative therapies, there is a variety of treatment options to consider.

As you decide which treatment is best for you, it is important to carefully consider the potential benefits and risks associated with each option. Additionally, it can be helpful to seek out the advice of a licensed medical professional to help you make an informed decision.