TMJ disorder refers to a condition that affects the temporomandibular joint, which connects your jaw to your skull. Symptoms may include aching facial pain, difficulty chewing, joint sounds, and locking of the joint, among others. Diagnosing TMJ disorders involves a detailed examination at our clinic where our team will assess your symptoms and perform a physical examination to identify the issues accurately.
A splint, also known as a dental guard or oral appliance, is custom-designed to fit over your upper teeth. Worn primarily during the night, it acts as a cushion that prevents teeth grinding and clenching, which are common causes of TMJ disorders, and allows a free range of movement. The splint facilitates a better jaw alignment and reduces the strain on the TMJ, helping alleviate the symptoms of the disorder. It stops you from locking into positions that could add strain to your joints over time and reduces the amount of force that can be produced from your grinding muscles.
While muscle relaxants are generally safe and effective in treating TMJ disorders, there could be side effects like injecting unintended muscle, minor discomfort at the injection site or developing a slight headache that day, the dose may need to be adjusted to be effective for you, or additional grinding muscles may compensate to take over these forces. Typically, we will inject the largest grinding muscles, the masseters, however some people will require an additional dose for the temporalis (located higher near the temples) as these muscles can take over occasionally. A more pleasant side effect can result in slimming of the lower portion of the face. It is always recommended to discuss your medical history and any concerns with Dr. Bolger to ensure the most suitable and safe treatment plan for you.