TMJ is the name of the jaw joint and we have 2 TMJs one on each side adjacent to the ears. The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) connects your lower jaw to the temporal bone of your skull, located near each ear. It includes a rounded condyle, the mandibular fossa, and a cushioning articular disc. Surrounded by a joint capsule and lubricated by synovial fluid, the TMJ allows smooth jaw movements. Key ligaments provide stability, while muscles like the masseter, temporalis, and pterygoids control movements such as opening, closing, protrusion, retrusion, and lateral shifts. Normal jaw opening ranges from 35 to 50 millimeters, with lateral movement of 10-15 millimeters per side. Proper function relies on coordinated action between the joint, muscles, and nerves, ensuring balanced and pain-free movement. Understanding these features is crucial for maintaining TMJ health and addressing any disorders that may arise. If you experience TMJ issues, seeking professional advice is essential for appropriate management and treatment.

Dr. Thoppay provides advanced evaluation for jaw pain and TMJ-related conditions and provides laser therapies, trigger injections, minimally invasive jaw management treatments, and other remedial measures. We offer time-sensitive appointments and advanced treatment procedures for TMJ symptoms, complex facial pain and oral diseases. The following advanced procedures are available at our center.

Time-sensitive treatment for TMJ Dysfunction

We apply digital technology and advanced tools to provide time-efficient treatments such as photobiomodulation, trigger injections, and TMD non-invasive therapies. We offer a quick turnaround time on mouthguards and TMD therapy-related oral appliances.

Cone Beam CT

This low-dose radiation advanced imaging technique provides finer details to aid diagnosis. Imaging for Orofacial diseases and clinical reports help evaluate orofacial pain, airway assessment, TMJ analysis, and certain orofacial conditions.

Conebeam CT, low dose radiation advanced imaging technique that provides finer details to aid diagnosis.

Therapeutic Injections for TMJ/ Jaw pain

A trigger point injection involves the injection of medication directly into the pain triggering points. The injection technique uses medications such as a long-acting numbing medication or Botox based on your clinical needs. Trigger point injections treat several conditions, including fibromyalgia, headache, and myofascial pain syndrome in the oral and maxillofacial regions. Botox or a local anesthetic may be used depending on your diagnosis.

TMJ, Jaw pain trigger points that needs trigger point pain management with injections

Laser Therapy

Low-level Laser Therapy

Photobiomodulation (PBM Therapy), previously known as Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT), applies a special range of light over injuries or lesions to improve wound and soft tissue healing, reduce inflammation and give relief to both acute and chronic pain.  Beneficial in the treatment of TMJ and Facial Pain disorders. LLLT may act via numerous mechanisms of action, including facilitating the release of endogenous opioids, augmenting tissue repair and cellular respiration, increasing vasodilatation and pain threshold, and decreasing inflammation. Laser therapy in oral healthcare provides a more comfortable experience.

At our practice, we can deliver a precise treatment that is minimally invasive, more comfortable, quicker and provides more stunning results. Laser therapy may need minimal anesthesia, and some procedures may not even needle a needle stick. Laser therapy is beneficial in many areas of dental care, such as managing gum disease, teeth whitening, fixing cavities, mouth sore healing, burning mouth treatment, and jaw pain management.

How does laser therapy work?

Lasers produce intense beams of light at specific wavelengths. When the right wavelength at the right intensity is used at the correct anatomical location for the right time, we can stimulate repair, resolve inflammation, and reduce pain. In Dentistry, two types of lasers are used. They are hard tissue and soft tissue lasers depending on the wavelength.

One of the primary mechanisms is the effect of light on cytochrome c oxidase and, consequently, the unbinding of nitric oxide and release of ATP, leading to improved cellular function. For anti-inflammatory effects, we have found a measurable reduction in PGE2, TNF Alpha, and IL-6 in the synovia surrounding damaged tendons. For analgesia, high-intensity lasers over nerve supply can inhibit fast axonal flow. In addition, high-intensity single-point lasers can release trigger points and treat acupuncture points instead of needles.

Who can benefit from laser therapy? 

Laser therapy has wide applications in orofacial disease, disorders, and oral conditions. This is a non-pharmacological therapy that can benefit without any significant side effects. Conditions such as oral lesions, mucositis, burning mouth syndrome, and facial pain are known to be chronic. The management of these conditions can be complex. Medical management may have side effects, and surgical management may not provide much benefit. Such conditions can benefit from laser therapy. Additionally, therapy may benefit chronic periodontal conditions, tissue inflammation, and inflammatory conditions.  

How does Low Level Laser Therapy Work?

With proper precaution, laser therapy is applied to significantly enhance tissue healing, alleviate pain, and reduce inflammation at the targeted area of the laser beam’s application. LLLT employs infrared light therapy at the cellular level. Laser therapy improves blood circulation, leading to increased delivery of oxygen, glucose, and nutrients to the affected muscles. It stimulates the body’s natural healing mechanisms, accelerating the recovery process. The protons stimulate the production of collagen, promoting the strengthening and faster growth of ligaments and tissues. It decreases free radicals and oxidative stress. Additionally, it enhances cellular metabolism and significantly alleviates pain while promoting the healing of nerves surrounding the jaw disk.

What are the benefits of laser therapy?

Promotes faster healing and effectively alleviates persistent pain. Diminishes pain and inflammation without the need for medications. Enhances the well-being of the affected jaw disk and expedites the recovery process. Non-invasive and non-surgical approach to treatment. Assists in improving range of motion and physical functionality. Being pain-free, it can be applied to highly sore muscles and joints without exacerbating the trauma. Suitable for individuals of all ages. No adverse effects experienced.

How safe is low level laser therapy?

Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) provides a secure and painless application of infrared light, ensuring comfort. It diminishes the requirement for anti-inflammatory medications. There is minimal to no emission of heat, which prevents damage to cells, burns on the skin, or harm to the surrounding tissue.

What is the duration of each session?

Each treatment session typically lasts around 20 minutes. It is recommended that it should be administered two or more times per week for effectiveness. However, the number of appointments needed varies depending on the specific situation and is personalized.

Contact us today to make an appointment for an assessment to see how Low Level Laser Therapy can benefit you.

Improves Circulation
Increases ATP Production

Accelerates Surface Healing

Oral Appliances and mouth guard for TMJ/ Jaw pain

Splint for TMJ symptoms and dysfunction management

TMJ appliances are customized to your specific jaw condition. Your jaw position affects the alignment in your TMJ and the position of your bite, head, neck, airway, and tongue. They often need to be worn during the day and night. There are several types of mouthguard designs to establish jaw and posture stability. We use digital technology to design the right type of oral appliance that is custom designed and fabricated based on your clinical condition.

What are the benefits of oral appliance therapy for TMJ Pain?

Oral appliance therapy provides many benefits, such as: 

  • It prevents further damage or wears and tear to your teeth
  • Decreases pain and discomfort from TMJ and other issues
  • Comfort, Biofeedback, and jaw calibration
  • Portable and Convenient for travel
  • Effective results

Whether you’re grinding your teeth, your jaw is locking, or dealing with sleep apnea CPAP/BiPAP-related jaw pain, oral appliance therapy can be a successful solution.