Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (also known as TMJ, TMD, or TMJD) is a disorder that affects nearly everyone! The manifestations of it, however, can vary between individuals. Some signs and symptoms are bracing, clenching, or grinding and may also include chipped or worn teeth. Patients may also experience muscle tension in and around the head or headaches. The Dental West doctors on the Upper West Side can help patients in all stages of distress with TMJ, offering a variety of TMJ treatments in NYC, including:
- Occlusal guards, or night-guards
- Botox for TMJ symptoms
- Botox for headaches and migraines
- Photobiomodulation (PBM)
Occlusal Guards for TMJ
An occlusal guard, also known as a nightguard, is a piece of plastic fitted to your teeth. It prevents the top and bottom teeth from grinding against one another, protecting them from chips or wear. It can also be used as a sports guard when your exercise of choice has you working so hard that you clench your teeth.
Botox for TMJ
Botulinum toxin is a drug that selectively paralyzes the muscles it hits. By injecting Botox into the masseter (the major chewing muscle), we’re able to dramatically decrease clenching and grinding for almost-immediate relief. For patients with headaches or migraines, we can also treat the temporalis muscles on the sides of the head, as well as the forehead and glabellar complex.
Photobiomodulation (PBM) for TMJ
PBM (formerly called Low Light Laser Therapy, or LLLT) is a non-invasive, non-drug, laser-light-based treatment that has been shown to significantly reduce pain and inflammation for TMJ patients. It can not only reduce inflammation and edema, but also create tissue repair and induce analgesia without the use of pain medication.
How does photobiomodulation work?
Let’s go back to high school science. In a healthy individual, the air that we breathe and the food that we eat combine to create energy called ATP. The process to make ATP occurs through the electron-transport chain and ends with oxygen attaching to the enzyme cytochrome c oxidase (CcO).
When we are sick or stressed (or even with age), our mitochondria start making nitric oxide (NO) which competitively displaces oxygen from CcO, decreasing production of ATP, and increasing the volatile free radicals in your body, called reactive oxygen species. This causes oxidative stress, the trigger for many diseases and degenerative conditions, including migraines.
Laser-light therapy removes the NO from the CcO, allowing oxygen to attach instead and the production of ATP to continue. This therapy has been shown in both medical and dental journals to decrease migraines, tension headaches, TMJ symptoms, and neck pain.
PBM can also decrease the activity in the sphenopalatine ganglion, the group of nerve cells linked to the trigeminal nerve, the main nerve involved in headaches.
Our doctors are offering the most cutting-edge TMJ and migraine treatments in NYC. Reach out to us at Dental West today to make an appointment at our Upper West Side office and find out how we can help you!
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