Medication For TMJ in Fort Atkinson, WI

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Is TMJ Medication a Good Idea?

Medications are sometimes used to help control temporomandibular joint disordersThis link leads to TMJ Disorders page (TMJ/TMD) and their symptoms. While medications are useful in supporting TMJ treatment, they are rarely useful as a sole method of treatment. In addition, long-term use of medications can lead to serious side effects. Many people who have been using them for a while are looking for ways to reduce their reliance on drugs.

Fortunately, TMJ can be treated without drugs. Dr. Jennifer StaffordThis link leads to Doctor’s page helps people find drug-free treatment solutions for their TMJ. Using these approaches can help you get relief with little or no reliance on medications.

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At-Home Medications and Risks

For many people, over-the-counter medications are possibly the first stop when it comes to treating TMJ at home. People usually rely on one or two classes of medications for home relief. 

Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is probably the most commonly used at-home pain reliever. It is effective at controlling pain for many people. Since it doesn’t address inflammation, it may be less effective at reducing future outbreaks. 

It’s also important to note that acetaminophen overuse can be toxic. About 50,000 people a year go to the hospital because of acetaminophen overuse. Make sure you follow the label instructions and only exceed the dose if cleared by a doctor. 

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are another class of commonly used medications at home. The two most commonly used types of NSAIDs are ibuprofen (Advil) and naproxen (Aleve). These drugs control swelling and reduce pain, which can make them ideal if you have swelling that contributes to your symptoms. 

However, NSAIDs can be toxic, especially when used too frequently. A recent study found that 15% of people taking these drugs take too much, which can lead to serious stomach damage, liver damage, and even heart problems up to and including heart attack. 

Rely on a home care protocol for only a short period before seeking professional help.

Prescription Medications

Doctors sometimes prescribe medications to help control TMJ symptoms. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications sometimes help with TMJ. Tricyclic antidepressants can reduce your body’s sensitivity to pain signals. 

However, they are also mood-altering, which can be bad. However, since other types of antidepressants, SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), can contribute to bruxism, people sometimes switch medications to help with TMJ symptoms. Anti-anxiety medications can help if anxiety contributes to your TMJ. 

Muscle relaxants are also used to control TMJ symptoms. However, the side effects can be serious. Many people can’t work, drive, or do other daily tasks while taking them. Plus, they can lead to dependence. This makes them good for control of flare-ups but a poor choice for long-term care. 

Opioids are sometimes used for TMJ and other chronic pain conditions. However, the risk of dependence and overdose means these are falling out of favor.

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TMJ Injections

Sometimes, injectable medications are used to control TMJ. Corticosteroids were the most common injection used in the past. This helps control inflammation and pain. 

Recently, botox injections have grown in popularity to help with the condition. Botox works by relaxing your jaw muscles. Getting regular injections every 3-6 months can keep overactive muscles under control. However, we aren’t sure about the long-term impact of this type of treatment.

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"TMJ Specialist" is not officially recognized by the American Dental Association. Dr. Stafford is a general dentist with many years of training in TMJ and neuromuscular dentistry, even though the specialty is not officially recognized. However, Wisconsin requires the following statement. "Cosmetic dentistry, TMJ, Neuromuscular dentistry, and Aesthetic dentistry are specialty areas not recognized by the ADA that requires no specific educational training to advertise this service".