How Ozone Can Help with TMJ Pain

In biological dentistry, biocompatibility matters. We want to be sure that any material or technique we use supports your overall health and well-being, as well as improves the quality of your smile and bite.

So we don’t place “silver” mercury amalgam fillings or other metal restorations, opting for composite or ceramic instead. We don’t use fluoride; rather, we focus on nutrition and good hygiene as the real difference-makers in preventing decay. We favor gentle and effective therapies that support the body’s natural healing processes. We welcome the use of botanicals and other natural, nontoxic remedies.

Take ozone (O3), for example. This is a form of oxygen well known for its ability to disinfect and to stimulate healing. We use it quite widely in caring for our patients. That’s because medical grade ozone has been shown to do far more than just kill harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites in the human mouth. Ozone has also been shown to

  • Stimulate the immune system.
  • Oxygenate cells.
  • Increase blood flow to help gum tissue heal.
  • Desensitize treated areas.
  • Increase antioxidant protection and the effectiveness of the body’s antioxidant enzyme system.
  • Reduce inflammation.

These qualities also make it an excellent tool for treating TMJ disorders, or TMDs – a point underscored by a review published just last month, showing ozone’s potential for treating a wide range of musculoskeletal disorders. While its authors note that we still lack a complete understanding of how ozone works its magic, we do know that

O3 decreases the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, particularly IL-6, IL-1β, and TNF-α, which are responsible for cartilage degradation in the synovial fluid. Thus, when injected into a joint capsule, O2O3 [oxygen-ozone] could be able to stimulate the intrinsic fibroblastic joint repairing abilities and to promote new cartilage growth as well as reducing inflammation. Therefore, ozone therapy is a not-invasive, fast, and comfortable treatment modality that seems to be effective in the pain management framework in TMD. This could have positive implications for these patients in improving mandibular function….

And, indeed, the scientific studies supporting that efficacy are pretty compelling.

For instance, one 2012 study involved two groups of TMD patients. Patients in one group got ozone injections in their temporomandibular joints; those in the other group were given NSAIDs and muscle relaxants. Almost 90% of those in the ozone group experienced either complete or partial improvement, while just 33% in the medication group showed improvement and none experienced complete recovery.

In a 2018 study, all the TMD patients who participated received ozone injections in their affected joints twice a day. After three weeks, 84% reported improved symptoms or even being symptom-free.

And lest you think injections are the only possibility, a set of case histories published in 2020 found that the application of ozonated oil can be extremely effective, as well.

The results showed…tremendous improvement in tenderness of masticatory muscles and on the pain (visual analog scale [VAS] scale) was found in both the patients. We concluded that ozone oil therapy because of [its] non-invasiveness, easy application and promising results could prove to be an innovative approach in treating the TMJ pain (musculoskeletal) disorders.

Here in our Laguna Hills office, Dr. Abdulla has similarly helped her patients by gently administering ozone gas through the ear to reduce inflammation in the TM joints. This way, the ozone flows directly to the joints, situated at the end of each ear canal. No injection is needed.

In combination with oral appliance therapy, behavioral changes, and other supports, we’ve found that ozone’s power to support healing can be really profound.

Oxygen is the difference-maker – for as ozone expert Dr. Frank Shallenberger has written, chronic pain comes from a lack of oxygen utilization. “Reverse this,” he says, “and an area of chronic pain will become normal again. Reverse this, and an area of chronic degeneration will begin to regenerate exactly as it was supposed to in the first place.”

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