Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) affects millions worldwide, causing pain, discomfort, and limited jaw movement. Traditional treatment options often include surgical interventions targeting the neck or jaw, which can be invasive and carry risks. However, regenerative therapy has emerged as a promising alternative, offering non-surgical approaches to TMJ treatment in recent years. This blog post explores the significance of regenerative therapy as a necessary consideration before resorting to neck, jaw, or dental surgery in treating TMJ.
Understanding TMJ and its Challenges:
The temporomandibular joint is a complex structure connecting the jawbone to the skull, facilitating jaw movement for talking, chewing, and yawning. TMJ disorders can arise due to various factors, including trauma, misalignment, arthritis, or excessive stress on the joint. Common symptoms include jaw pain, clicking or popping sounds, headaches, earaches, and difficulty opening or closing the mouth.
While surgical procedures like arthroscopy, arthroplasty, or joint replacement have been utilized to address severe TMJ cases, they have significant risks and drawbacks. Surgery involves prolonged recovery times and multiple potential complications. Thus, exploring non-surgical treatment options, such as regenerative therapy, becomes a self-evident necessity before considering surgical interventions.
Regenerative Therapy for TMJ:
Regenerative therapy harnesses the body's natural healing abilities to repair damaged tissues and restore proper function. This approach utilizes innovative direct or indirect techniques to promote tissue regeneration, reduce inflammation, and alleviate pain, enabling non-invasive and minimally invasive treatment options for TMJ.
Prolotherapy, short for proliferative therapy, injects different biologically active solutions to stimulate or reactivate the body’s biological repair pathways. Although simple dextrose-based solutions were traditionally employed at the onset of this technique; and were quite successful, we now have multiple solutions containing the same biological mediators our body uses to repair acute and chronic damage. These solutions are sourced from different areas of the body and placentas, are proven safe, and are significantly more effective than the dextrose-based solutions used when prolotherapy was pioneered in the 1940s and 1950s.
Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) Therapy:
PRP therapy involves extracting the patient's blood, processing it to concentrate platelet-contained growth factors, cytokines, and other healing components, then injecting the resulting concentrate into the affected joint. The contents of PRP helps stimulate tissue repair, reduce inflammation, and promote the growth of new, healthy cells.
Stem Cell and Nanoparticle (Exosome) Therapy:
Previously we believed injected stem cells would differentiate into the various cell types necessary to achieve tissue regeneration. We now know that the microvesicles secreted by stem cells activate the resident stem cells to repair and transform into the cellular components and tissues necessary to recover normal organ or tissue function.
In TMJ treatment, stem cells can be derived from the patient's own body (autologous) or other sources (allogeneic). These cells are injected into the affected area, facilitating tissue repair and regeneration, reducing pain, and improving or normalizing joint functionality.
Laser Therapy: Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) utilizes specific wavelengths of light to promote cellular function, reduce inflammation, and relieve pain. Although an indirect therapeutic modality, Laser therapy has shown promising results in managing TMJ-related pain and inflammation, enhancing tissue repair, and improving jaw mobility. Its efficacy is less robust than the direct injection of PRP or stem cell derivatives but may be used as an adjunct to the injectables.
BPC-157 is a regenerative peptide shown to regenerate the different connective tissue components of the musculoskeletal system as well as those of the peripheral and central nervous system. It may also serve as a cost-effective independent injectate or used to support biological nanoparticle or PRP treatments.
Benefits of Regenerative Therapy over Surgery:
Non-invasiveness: Regenerative therapy offers a non-surgical, minimally invasive approach, reducing the risks associated with surgical procedures and avoiding potential complications such as infection, nerve damage, or scarring.
Faster Recovery: Compared to surgical interventions, regenerative therapy typically involves shorter recovery times. Patients can resume normal activities more quickly without extensive post-operative rehabilitation.
Natural Healing: Regenerative therapy harnesses the body's innate healing mechanisms, promoting tissue regeneration and restoring normal joint function. Utilizing the body's resources can result in long-term benefits without reliance on artificial implants or prosthetics.
Potential for Combined Treatments: Regenerative therapy can be used with other conservative treatments like physical therapy, occlusal splints, or medication, further enhancing its effectiveness and providing comprehensive care.
Regenerative therapy represents a groundbreaking approach to TMJ treatment, offering a viable alternative to surgical interventions. By promoting tissue regeneration, reducing inflammation, and restoring joint functionality, regenerative therapies such as PRP, stem cell therapies, regenerative peptide therapies, and laser therapy provide non-invasive options that should be considered before opting for surgery on the neck or jaw.
Take control of your TMJ symptoms today and experience the transformative power of regenerative medicine. Reach out to Trip Goolsby, MD, an expert in regenerative therapies for TMJ at Infinite Health Integrative Medicine Center. Dr. Goolsby will carefully evaluate your condition and design a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs, utilizing cutting-edge regenerative techniques. Say goodbye to pain, hello to improved function, and unlock a higher quality of life. Don't wait any longer—take the first step towards a pain-free and rejuvenated future. Contact Dr. Goolsby now by visiting www.YourInfiniteHealth.com or call 504-323-0025.
Platelet-rich plasma in the management of temporomandibular joint disorders: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Authors: López-Martos R, González-Pérez LM, Gutiérrez-Pérez JL, et al. Published in: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders, 2020.
Summary: This systematic review and meta-analysis evaluate the efficacy of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy in TMJ disorders. The study concludes that PRP injections positively affect pain reduction and improved function in patients with TMJ disorders.
Autologous adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cell therapy for temporomandibular joint regeneration: preliminary randomized controlled trial results. Authors: Pihlman T, Hukkanen M, Kainulainen S, et al. Published in: Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, 2017.
Summary: This randomized controlled trial investigates the use of autologous adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for TMJ regeneration. The study demonstrates that MSC therapy can improve joint function and reduce pain in patients with TMJ disorders.
Low-level laser therapy for temporomandibular joint disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis. Authors: Pol R, Huić M, Kraljević Šimunković S, et al. Published in: Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, 2020.
Summary: This systematic review and meta-analysis evaluate the effectiveness of low-level laser therapy (LLLT) in treating TMJ disorders. The findings suggest that LLLT can relieve pain, improve mouth opening, and reduce joint sounds in patients with TMJ disorders.
Comparison of the efficacy of three treatment protocols for myofascial pain of the jaw muscles: a randomized clinical trial. Authors: Bonjardim LR, da Silva PF, da Silva Junior Ede O, et al. Published in: Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, 2013.
`Summary: This randomized clinical trial compares the efficacy of PRP injections, dry needling, and conventional treatment in patients with myofascial pain in the jaw muscles. The study demonstrates that PRP injections effectively reduce pain and improve mouth opening in patients with myofascial pain.