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Infrared Light Therapy for TMJ Discomfort – Easy, Comfortable, Inexpensive, and Highly Effective!
Discomfort, clicking, and popping of the TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) are arguably among the most common complaints by patients, and until now, there has been no easy, non-invasive therapy. The pain and discomfort associated with TMJ dysfunction can be often disruptive in one’s daily life and sometimes quite debilitating. Typically, your dentist would recommend that you have a nightguard made, and that can work very well, but many people don’t like to wear them, have a gag reflex, can’t sleep with them, or just refuse to try. Botox, injected into the temporomandibular joint, has been offered as an alternative or an adjunct, but is somewhat invasive and will have to be re-injected repeatedly when it wears away. Well, now there is another way! There is a highly effective, easy, comfortable, and inexpensive therapy to help relieve your TMJ discomfort and it is called Infrared Light Therapy.
Infrared light is a type of energy your eyes can’t see, but your body can feel as heat.
Do not confuse Infrared Light Therapy with Red Light Therapy, also known as Low Level Laser Light Therapy (LLLT), which operates at a lower wavelength range of 610-660 nm. Infrared Light Therapy is more effective and works at a wavelength range of 810-880 nm to penetrate deeper into the soft tissues, muscles, joints, tendons, teeth, gums, and bone to stimulate and accelerate healing and regeneration on a cellular level. In addition to cellular repair, the benefits of Infrared light therapy include decreasing inflammation, reducing joint pain, stimulating blood circulation, relieving jaw tenderness, warming and soothing the muscles, enabling full range of motion and opening, and diminishing the discomfort and clicking associated with TMJ Syndrome.
Millions of people have been diagnosed with TMJ syndrome, the dysfunction of the joint that attaches the lower jaw to the base of your skull. These TMJ disorders may cause mild to debilitating symptoms such as pain while chewing or opening, headaches, pain in the ear, jaw, neck and face. Popping or clicking sounds are very common signs, and in some extreme situations the jaw can get stuck in the closed or open position. The causes of TMJ discomfort includes Stress, Bruxism/Clenching/Grinding, Trauma, Malocclusion, Arthritis, Autoimmune issues, and Estrogen. Estrogen can be a contributing factor, which is why studies have shown that women are more likely to have TMJ issues than men.
Out of all these contributing factors, the number one cause of TMJ pain is STRESS. Never underestimate the effects that stress has on the body. Stress can cause severe teeth grinding, clenching and bruxism. People often take out their worries, fears and stresses subconsciously, while they sleep, causing the muscles and joints to become strained and over-worked, especially if the bite is off and interferences are present. A poor bite or malocclusion can often be a contributing factor than can be exacerbated during times of stress. Dental restorations that have not been properly fit or adjusted, especially those that did not incorporate the minimally invasive protocols and techniques of Biomimetic dentistry, can also throw off one’s bite and cause the surrounding muscles to become overworked as they try to function around these interferences. An improper bite can also contribute to headaches and even affect posture. Often managing the stress, adjusting these interferences and then administering Infrared Light therapy can help to alleviate this discomfort and these symptoms. The Infrared Light Therapy, that we use in our practice, utilizes a patented FDA Class II approved Medical Device, whose technology was developed by NASA. This therapy can be used instead of or in conjunction with other forms of TMJ therapy, such as TMJ Oral Appliances/Night Guards, Botox/Trigger Point injections, Physical Therapy/Chiropractic/Acupuncture, and Anti-Inflammatory Medications and Muscle Relaxants.
Numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies have concluded the following: Infrared light treatments showed significant results and was very effective in the treatment of TMD symptoms (pain, clicking and tender muscles) with about 30% of treatment relief remaining even six months after just one treatment of 10-15 min around the affected area. These studies demonstrated a decreased pain and increased mobility in patients with TMD even after a single application of Infrared Light applied to the masticatory muscles and points around the TMJ. Just like any form of therapy, the effects and benefits are cumulative. It is recommended to have multiple sessions until you reach a point that you just want to maintain periodically. Remember, this is not a cure, this is a treatment. Infrared Light therapy an effective way to help to manage and treat the symptoms of TMJ discomfort.
If I have spiked your curiosity and you would like to learn more about Infrared Light Therapy or Biomimetic dentistry, I am always available to you in my office for a consultation (332-334-8290) or you can also feel free to look at the other articles I have published about these topics. They can be found on my website at https://www.drmarclazare.com
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