Headaches, jaw pain, or discomfort in your neck and shoulders all add up to a miserable existence and life with TMD or temporomandibular joint disorder. If you can get relief with one of the popular over-the-counter NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), why not go for it? Day after day, night after night; after all, they provide a modicum of relief and you aren’t really expecting any miracles. Are you?
The Truth about NSAIDs
NSAIDs such as aspirin and ibuprofen are good at relieving pain. In addition to pain relief, they are also used to reduce fevers and inflammation. Aspirin is often prescribed in low dosages as a blood thinner because NSAIDs prevent blood from clotting. For some people this is a good thing; but not for everyone.
For short term relief, NSAIDs are fine. However TMD is a disorder that may last longer than just a few days, weeks or months. Some people suffer with the discomfort of TMD for years. Your body was not designed to handle the constant dosages of pain relievers required to control the discomfort of TMD. Depending on the medicine you are taking, prolonged use can cause damage to different organs in your body.
Some people have allergies to NSAIDs. Asthma reactions are not uncommon. Patients have been known to develop ulcers with long term use. Kidney and liver damage are also known side effects of prolonged NSAID use. Senior citizens should be particularly careful when taking these drugs. The longer you take these medications, the more the risk of side effects increases. Additionally, the severity of the side effects increases as well. Pregnant women should not take these medications; unfortunately, sometimes a woman can be pregnant for a while before she finds out she is carrying a child. It’s just another reason to be cautious with NSAIDs.
Getting to the Root of Your TMD
Putting off real treatment of TMD is not in your best interest. There are several types of procedures that can eliminate temporomandibular joint discomfort. You may be one of those people who would benefit from an exercise regime or mouthguard. Even if more aggressive treatment is needed, wouldn’t you agree that it is better to treat the cause rather than the symptoms of the disorder? At Village Park Family Dentistry, we diagnose the problem and devise a treatment plan that will give you genuine relief, not just temporary relief for a few hours.
Neuromuscular Dentistry and TMD
There is an optimal position in which your upper and lower teeth are meant to come together. When they do not come together in this optimal fashion, the temporomandibular joint may experience additional stress. This excess stress causes the muscle to become fatigued and it can become inflamed. NSAIDs work on the inflammation. Surrounding tissues and muscles can become irritated and inflamed as well, hence you may experience discomfort in your head, neck and shoulders.
Neuromuscular dentistry focuses on finding the optimal position for your teeth and correcting the jaw misalignment. The specialists at Village Park Family Dentistry examine the way your teeth come together (occlude) and determine what needs to be done in order to correct the malocclusion so that your jaw joint is relieved of unnecessary stress. We find the cause of your discomfort and provide you with treatment that brings an end to TMD.
The body you have is the only one you get to use this lifetime. Don’t put off getting true relief for your TMD discomfort by prolonged use of NSAIDs. Come to Village Park Family Dentistry for true solutions and sustained relief. Call us today for a consultation appointment. Leave those over-the-counter pain relievers on the counter!