How often will I have to come?
A typical treatment plan for TMJ issues is 8-12 sessions on average. Initially, it is recommended that the first four treatments are scheduled one week apart since massage has a compounding effect with each treatment building on the previous. At this point, the initial goal is to get you at 80% symptom relief.
At four weeks, we’ll reassess and determine if it is appropriate to start spacing treatments out to a bi-weekly schedule. Once we get you to 100% or as close as possible, we will determine whether a maintenance schedule or a treatment-as-needed approach would be best.
We recommend you schedule all your appointments in advance to ensure the ongoing benefits of the treatments. Then, if the additional treatments are no longer needed, we can easily cancel future appointments.
What is the long-term outlook?
In most cases, when TMD is muscular in origin, self-care and massage treatments will alleviate TMJ dysfunction symptoms successfully. Some will experience long periods with no symptoms, with only intermittent flare-ups from triggering events like increased stress, lengthy dental procedures, etc.
While individuals with longstanding issues (vehicle or sports injury) can frequently experience improved symptoms, although they are not fully resolved. In these cases, clients “graduate” after an initial series to monthly or seasonal visits to keep old patterns from recurring and feeling well for more extended periods.
What can I do to alleviate symptoms on my own until I can get a treatment?
- Avoid hard and crunchy foods and opt for softer foods that don’t require a lot of chewing
- Do not chew gum, bite nails, or rest your hand on your chin
- Avoid opening your mouth wider than one or two inches
- Chew with both sides of your mouth if possible
- If pain is acute, apply a cold compress up to four times a day for five to ten minutes
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach
- Ask your doctor or pharmacist about anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing medication
Why are you referring me to a dentist or ear, nose & throat specialist before receiving treatment?
Many TMJ dysfunction symptoms mimic more serious conditions that need to be ruled out by a dentist or ENT. For example, TMD can present with tooth pain, but so does an abscessed tooth, which needs to be ruled by a dentist. TMD can also present with ear symptoms such as pain, ringing, and fullness. An ENT would be able to rule out infection, vertigo or other ear conditions.
Do I have to keep my mouth open for treatment?
I understand your fear since this is often a triggering event for a flare-up in TMD symptoms. However, unlike some dental or medical procedures that require you to maintain an open mouth position, this is not the case with the intra-oral massage. You will need to initially open your mouth to allow access for me to treat you, but once I am inside, you can close your mouth and maintain a comfortable and relaxed position.
Is Intra-oral work safe with the COVID-19 pandemic?
Our clinic is doing everything we can to keep everyone safe by adhering to all the health and safety guidelines outlined by the College of Massage Therapists of Ontario and Public Health. Our COVID-19 treatments for TMJ dysfunction have been adapted to keep both client and therapist safe. The clinic has adopted a treatment protocol which was designed to provide maximum protection against the spread of the virus.
The techniques have been modified to work with PPE while still delivering effective quality care. Both client and RMT will be wearing PPE when working within the mouth’s tissues. It is important to recognize that even though we are doing all that we can to minimize the spread of COVID-19, we cannot eliminate the risk entirely.