Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ disorder) commonly affects the jaw joint and its supporting tissues, leading to various symptoms and pain. Speaking, eating, and yawning are all vital everyday functions that involve the temporomandibular joint. This joint dysfunction or imbalance can cause a number of problems that have a significant effect on a person’s quality of life.
Thankfully, TMJ treatment near you is now readily available as it can be provided by dental professionals. Read on to learn more!
What is TMJ disorder?
TMJ disorder encompasses a range of conditions that affect the jaw joint, jaw muscles, and surrounding tissues. Common symptoms of TMJ disorder include jaw pain, clicking or popping sounds when opening or closing the mouth, difficulty or discomfort while chewing, facial pain, headaches, earaches, and limited jaw movement. These symptoms can vary in severity and may be temporary or chronic.
The exact causes of TMJ disorder are not always clear and can vary from person to person. However, several factors may contribute to its development, including jaw injury or trauma, jaw misalignment, teeth grinding (bruxism), arthritis, stress and anxiety, poor posture, hormonal factors, and other underlying conditions.
Diagnosis of TMJ disorder is typically done by a healthcare professional, such as a dentist or oral and maxillofacial specialist. They will evaluate the symptoms, conduct a physical examination, and may order additional tests like X-rays or MRI scans to assess the TMJ and surrounding structures.
How to Treat TMJ
- Alternating between using warm and cold compresses on the afflicted region might help relieve pain and inflammation.
- Eating soft meals will help to reduce stress on the jaw joint since they need less chewing.
Limit jaw-stressing activities like chewing gum and exaggerated yawning.
- Jaw strain can be lessened with the aid of stress management practices like meditation or deep breathing exercises.
- Over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen help temporarily ease TMJ discomfort.
- In some circumstances, a dentist near you will recommend taking a muscle relaxant to reduce jaw muscle tension.
Oral Splints or Mouthguards
Custom-fitted oral splints or mouthguards may be worn to prevent bruxism (jaw clenching or teeth grinding) and relieve symptoms. These tools support jaw realignment and TMJ pressure reduction.
A physical therapist may give you instructions on how to strengthen and stretch your jaw muscles, which will improve jaw function and lessen pain. Techniques of gentle manipulation can aid in jaw muscle relaxation and enhance joint mobility.
Your dentist in Somerset may recommend dental procedures, such as orthodontic therapy or dental crowns, to improve the alignment of your teeth and lessen jaw strain if your TMJ issue is brought on by an abnormal bite (malocclusion).
Your dentist may occasionally make a special dental splint or orthotic device to stabilize and realign the jaw joint.
Medications for Specific Conditions
If your TMJ dysfunction is accompanied by arthritis or another inflammatory disease, your doctor may prescribe medications designed to treat those underlying disorders.
Tips to Relieve TMJ Pain
If you’re experiencing TMJ pain and discomfort, there are several self-care measures you can take to help alleviate the symptoms. Here are some tips to relieve TMJ pain:
- Apply moist heat or cold packs: Use a warm towel or cold compress for 15 minutes to reduce pain and inflammation.
- Eat soft foods: Stick to mashed potatoes, soups, and cooked vegetables to minimize strain on the jaw.
- Avoid excessive jaw movements: Be mindful of wide yawning or biting into hard foods to prevent worsening symptoms.
- Practice relaxation techniques: Engage in deep breathing, meditation, or stretching exercises to relax the jaw muscles and reduce stress.
- Address teeth grinding and clenching: Consult your dentist about using a night guard or splint to protect your teeth.
- Maintain good posture: Sit up straight and ensure proper ergonomics to avoid strain on the jaw joint.
- Perform gentle jaw exercises: Try jaw stretches and resist mouth opening and closing to improve mobility.
- Use over-the-counter pain relievers: Take ibuprofen or acetaminophen as directed for temporary relief.
Remember, if symptoms persist or worsen, seek professional evaluation at Silverado Dental Wellness for a proper diagnosis and tailored treatment options. Our staff is here to assist you in any way we can so please, give us a call when you can.