TMD / Orofacial Pain Treatment in San Antonio

Problems with the temporomandibular joint are often referred to as Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD) and can be difficult to treat effectively. However, the symptoms can be dramatically reduced with proper treatment over time. Orofacial pain may be rooted in TMD and often responds to similar treatment plans. Dr. Lee and Dr. Hachem.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder is a multifactorial disorder with complex clinical, sensory, genetic, psychological, and nervous system components. There are various potential reasons, some of which overlap, including strain on the temporomandibular joint, tension in the jaw muscles, bruxism, arthritis, or injury.

Treatment Options for TMD and Orofacial Pain

Treatment options for TMD may address the symptoms or focus more on the root causes. We may recommend several approaches before finding the one that works best for you. Many patients benefit from a combination of treatments.

Home Treatment and Relaxation

Pain medications, muscle relaxers, and cold or heat packs applied to the joint may be the first treatment protocol recommended. Stress reduction techniques may help minimize teeth grinding and clenching.

Physical Therapy

Chronic TMD patients may benefit from physical therapy, but treatment is typically ongoing and requires dedication to regular therapy. Physical Therapy is most effective for mild to moderate forms of TMD. The goal is to loosen tight muscles surrounding the joint, improve the range of motion, and decrease pain.


Corticosteroid injections into the temporomandibular joint reduce inflammation and orofacial pain associated with TMD. Patients can expect relief to last 3-4 weeks, which may give them enough time to begin physical therapy and exercises that bring long-term relief.

Botox® injections reduce muscle mass, relax the muscles, and reduce inflammation. The results last up to four months, requiring repeated treatments that may result in reduced muscle control, including a “fixed smile” effect.

Dental Appliance Treatment Options for TMD/Orofacial Pain

Dr. Lee and Dr. Hachem regularly treat patients suffering from TMD. A dental appliance is often the best solution for patients with moderate to severe TMD with diagnostic and therapeutic components. Advantages of dental appliance therapy include:

  • No invasive surgery
  • No injections
  • No side effects from medications
  • Long-term relief
  • Improvement of range of motion and comfort

Keep in mind that any approach to treating TMJ Disorder is more effective when combined with proper at-home care, including resting the jaw and avoiding excessive use of the jaw.

Nightguard/Dental Splint

A dental splint or nightguard is crafted from hard material. It realigns your jaw while sleeping, reducing stress on the temporomandibular joint. To be effective and allow comfortable breathing, a splint must be custom-fitted to your mouth by Dr. Lee or Dr. Hachem.

Anterior Positioning Device (a.k.a. Muscle Deprogrammer)

The anterior positioning device is a type of mouth splint designed to realign the jaw. It moves the lower jaw forward or backward to move the temporomandibular joint into the proper position. Once the jaw is properly aligned, the symptoms associated with TMD are reduced or eliminated.

Orthotic Stabilization Device

A stabilization device fits snugly over the upper or lower teeth. The biting surface is tailored to control the bite position of the opposing teeth and jawbone to minimize the effects of teeth grinding or clenching, reducing pain and inflammation and allowing the jaw muscles to heal.

When is Surgery Advisable for TMD?

Surgical TMD treatment may be a last resort after all other treatment options have failed. Drs. Lee and Hachem do not consider surgery for TMJ dysfunction unless the jaw is dislocated, the mouth cannot open and close properly, or there is severe degeneration of the temporomandibular joint.

What Happens if TMD is Left Untreated?

Left untreated, TMD can lead to serious complications, including:

  • Chronic pain
  • Jawbone damage
  • Migraines
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Cracked, fractured, or worn teeth
  • Tinnitus (ringing in the ears)
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Difficulty eating properly

If you are tired of living with the pain of TMD and want relief, contact Orbis Dental at 210-496-1919 for a consultation to discuss your treatment options.

Are You Ready to Live Pain-Free?

Contact us with any questions or to schedule an appointment to reclaim your smile today!

Call us: (210) 496-1919