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The causes can be macrotrauma such as a whiplash injury secondary to a motor vehicle accident, getting hit in the jaw, or microtrauma which includes tooth clenching and grinding of the teeth (bruxism). Treatment involves use of an orthotics, (oral appliances) which functions to splint or protect the injured joints, ligaments and musculature, and allow healing to occur. The longer a patient postpones treatment the greater the potential for this to develop into a chronic pain which is more difficult to treat, takes longer and less optimal outcome. Clenching and grinding can also be related to stress, anxiety and even an obstructed airway.
Upon placing the injured parts in the right position we now can use antiinflammatory medications and muscle relaxants to accelerate healing.
The effects of these etiologies are excessive loading of the jaw joints and associated musculature and stretching of the associated ligaments.

Medications can be taken orally, or delivered transdermally (through the skin) with procedures such as iontophoresis, phonophoresis and trigger point injections. This leads to an inflammation of the structures very much like a sprained ankle which is exacerbated with function (ie.
Non-pharmacological management includes ultrasound, cold laser, spray and stretch, to treat sore muscles and establish greater joint mobility.
Those that need this positioning on a more permanent basis can be considered for orthodontics.

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