Temporomandibular disorder, commonly known as TMJ, is a condition that can affect the muscles in one or both sides of your jaw. The temporomandibular joint is what connects your skull to your jaw, and since the jaw is so frequently in use—from talking, chewing, and yawning—this condition can leave you in quite a bit of pain. Some common symptoms of TMJ include clicking or popping noises in the jaw, pain or difficulty opening your mouth wide, pain while chewing, and swelling in the face. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to alleviate these symptoms.
Four Methods for Relief
1. Use cold packs or heat packs to reduce swelling and soothe the joint when the area is feeling achy and sore.
2. We all need to eat, but temporomandibular pain can make it feel like a chore. There are some simple ways to lessen the pain that comes along with eating, however. Avoid tough or sticky foods that are difficult to chew, and lay off the gum as well. It might also benefit you to avoid very hard or crunchy foods. Foods that are softer and easier to chew can give your temporomandibular joint a bit of a much needed rest.
3. Keep good posture. Sitting and standing up straight can help alleviate tension in the muscles in your neck and shoulders, which can cause more stress in your jaw. If you spend your day working at a desk on a computer, this tip is even more pertinent. Try to avoid slouching or leaning forward while sitting at your desk to avoid further muscle strain.
4. See your dentist. TMJ can also be caused by bruxism, or the grinding of your teeth a night. After a careful evaluation of your symptoms and a dental examination, your dentist might recommend a bite splint, or a custom mouth guard, for you to wear at night in order to reduce the effects of teeth grinding and clenching.
Consulting a Dentist is Key
Of course, seeing a specialist is the best course of action for treating TMJ. After a consultation with your dentist, which will include a full dental examination and perhaps an MRI, your dentist might suggest cosmetic or restorative dentistry in order to correct your teeth or your bite. Physical therapy can also be an option.
Overall, there’s no reason to live with constant jaw pain and discomfort. If you’re located in the Farmington Hills, MI area, Dwoskin & Owens Cosmetic & Family Dentistry offers a variety of TMJ treatment options. If you’re suffering the signs and symptoms of TMJ, seek help from a dental professional today.