MT and DA Work With TMJ Disorder

massage therapy and DA work with TMJ disorder

There are a myriad of medical disorders treated by two or more disparate medical fields for which Concorde offers programs. One such event is known as Temporo Mandibular Joint Disorder, more commonly TMJ Syndrome. It’s pain and discomfort in ones jaw muscles, usually due to clenching and grinding of the teeth. It’s a condition that can receive effective treatment from a Dental Assistant and Massage Therapist. TMJ Syndrome most often occurs when the masseter muscle, the human body’s primary chewing muscle and, pound for pound, one of the strongest muscles in the body, becomes fatigued and over-used because of teeth clenching and grinding. The muscles can spasm, creating jaw pain, headaches, earaches, even tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and dizziness. One in eight Americans is affected by TMJ, according to It’s four times more likely to occur with women than men. It’s a common malady that can be effectively treated on two different fronts. There is the dental side of things … where a Dental Assistant can play a major role. And then, there’s Massage Therapy around the jaw and neck, which is prominent in relaxing the muscles in spasm. Following are some closer looks at how two health care fields are significant in the treatment of TMJ Syndrome.

Dental Treatments for TMJ Syndrome

One of the most common treatments for the ailment is an occlusal guard or mouth guard. They can be worn at night, when most grinding and gnashing of teeth occur. This can prevent wear and tear on the teeth that can occur during grinding. It also can help stop the clenching of the jaw muscles that can lead to TMJ Syndrome. Most dentist offices can manufacture or fit for custom-fitting occlusal guards for patients in need. Dentists, and by extension, Dental Assistants, also can apply sealants to strengthen weakened areas on the teeth. They even can prescribe medications which can help alleviate symptoms.

The role of Massage Therapy in treating the disorder

Massage Therapy can be highly effective in the treatment of TMJ, especially when done in cooperation with the patient’s dentist. Not only does the MT target the muscles of mastication, he/she also can conduct specific tests to rule out or confirm any nerve irritation that might be increasing the symptoms or even be a direct cause of pain. Once a patient has been seen by a dentist to identify any bite problems, the MT can go about relaxing the affected muscles and treated for any active or latent trigger points. Massage Therapy isn’t confined to just the jaw area, but also neck and upper backs, which all can be connected in the disorder. Once that soft tissue can be stretched, relaxed and strengthened, the patient can be well on the way to recovery and a future free of lasting jaw pain.
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