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Temporomandibular Joint: Laser Therapy Options

Laser Therapy- Temporomandibular Joint

Low Level Laser Therapy for temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders is extremely effective at decreasing pain and improving overall function.

The TMJ (also known as your jaw) is responsible for opening and closing your mouth. The TMJ is the joint where chewing takes place and, of course it allows movement so that we can talk, laugh, drink etc. To locate the TMJ, place a finger in front of your ear, open and close your mouth and you will feel the joint moving.

TMD is a “Temporomandibular Disorder”, which can appear when the TMJ does not fulfill its role due to some  dysfunction between the joints and/or muscles that control the jaw.

Causes:

  • Emotional factors such as anxiety and stress.
  • Bruxism (grinding teeth during sleep).
  • Physical injury.
  • Absence of teeth in the dental arch.
  • Degenerative Arthritis
  • Inflammatory conditions
 

Symptoms:

  • Clicking sensation, popping, or grating sounds in the jaw joint when you open or close your mouth or chew.
  • Pain and discomfort in your face, jaw, neck and/or around the ear when you chew, speak, or open your month.
  • Restricted movement, for example, jaw gets “stuck” or “locked” in the open or closed mouth position.
  • Headaches

Recent studies have shown consistent results using physical therapy in cases of pain and limitation of movement from temporomandibular dysfunction.


Physiotherapy Treatment

TMD is quite common with about one in ten people showing signs of a jaw disorder. Non-invasive, conservative treatments have found to be effective. Physiotherapy treatment is highly effective in relieving and managing TMD, even when the symptoms are chronic and severe. Physiotherapy at Woodbridge have highly trained therapists that are used to assessing and diagnosing this condition. A thorough assessment and examination are critically important to ensure a correct treatment plan is implemented.

The treatment of TMD aims to reduce or eliminate pain, restore normal joint function, reduce the need for future treatments and restore normal vital functions.

What kind of Treatments?

  • Self-care as resting the join, proper exercises, avoiding chewing gum, eating soft foods, and avoiding clenching or tensing the jaw.
  • Stretching the jaw and self massage on muscles around the jaw.
  • Soft tissue releases to affected muscle and joint mobilisation techniques. It is also important to treat any associated neck and headaches
  • Ice to reduce swelling.
  • Bio-Flex Low Level Laser Therapy.
  • Dry needling
 
 

Low Level Laser Therapy for TMD Treatment

Low level laser therapy (LLLT) is used by our physiotherapist Derek Mernagh to treat the temporomandibular joint . LLLT is a non-invasive and non-surgical light source treatment, help to improve range of movement and physical function, can be used on all ages and has very little side effects.

The positive effects of the LLLT are significant:

  • Reduction of inflammation.
  • Pain relief.
  • Accelerated healing and tissue regeneration.


How long does treatment take?

Treatments take about 30 to 50 minutes and should be applied two or more times a week

although the number of appointments required varies case by case.

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