TMJ disorder, sometimes simply called TMD, is a painful condition that afflicts millions of people. It occurs when various factors place excessive stress on the joints that join the lower jaw to the rest of the skull. People who suffer from TMD may experience chronic jaw pain, headaches, and a long list of other unpleasant symptoms. Nightguards have long been used to treat TMJ in Aurora, and they are often an effective way to relax the wearer’s muscles and help them find relief. However, at your dentist’s office, we also offer these other remarkable treatments for TMD.
Lidocaine is a local anesthetic that we sometimes use during dental procedures. When we use it to treat TMD, we perform what is called a “trigger point injection.” Basically, we inject the anesthetic into the muscles that are causing your pain. The numbness often only lasts for a few hours, but the pain relief may last for much longer than that.
The effectiveness of trigger point injections come from “needling,” which involves inserting a thin needle into the muscle for 30 to 60 seconds. The needle disrupts the knot in the muscle, changing the way it transmits pain.
Sometimes, the relief from lidocaine injections only lasts a few days to a week. We know you don’t want to come back to us to get treatments every week, so we may recommend that you try Botox to treat your TMD symptoms. Botox paralyzes muscles and forces them to relax. It also modifies the way they transmit pain.
Exactly how long the results from Botox last varies from person to person. However, you can reasonably expect to be pain-free for anywhere from two to four months. In some cases, the second round of Botox injections provides even longer-lasting relief than the initial round of treatments.
Exploring Your TMD Treatment Options at Southland Smiles
Living with TMD can put a drag on your life, which is why we encourage you to come talk to us about your treatment options. We may begin by suggesting a nightguard since it can provide long-lasting relief without injections. We can also coach you on how to make a few simple lifestyle adjustments that can help you avoid putting unnecessary stress on your jaw (for example, we might suggest that you stop chewing gum or that you undergo a facial massage).
However, if you find it difficult to wear a nightguard or if it simply doesn’t provide the level of relief you were hoping for, we can discuss trigger point injections with lidocaine or Botox. Ultimately, our goal is to help you conquer your pain so you can get back to enjoying your life.
About Your Dentist in Aurora, CO
Dr. Christina Linn, one of the friendly dental experts in our practice, has a career that spans nearly a decade. As a dentist, she is very familiar with the facial muscles and how they work, making her qualified to address TMD. If you would like to talk to one of our dental experts about your TMD problems, please contact our office at 720-457-9300.