TMJ Problems and How to Treat ThemOct 03 2016

Woman with a toothpain, isolated on white

Having a TMJ disorder can be distracting, not to mention painful. What can you do when the discomfort in your jaw just will not go away? Besides going to see your dentist, there are ways to take care of your TMJ disorder.

Not only are there treatments that come from the doctor, but there are also things that you can do to manage your symptoms on your own. After all, it is no fun when you are in too much pain to chew the food you want to eat. First, however, what exactly are TMJ disorders?

What are TMJ Disorders?

The temporomandibular joint connects your skull to your jawbones, acting as a sliding hinge. Sometimes, a disorder can develop that causes pain in the muscles that are in charge of controlling jaw movement. Various factors may be responsible for it, but there is no definitive general cause.

It can be due to genetics or habits that you have such as grinding or clenching your teeth. This is not the reason all the time, and that is why it can be so hard to find the cause. Luckily, most of the time it can be treated and managed with conservative measures.

Treatment

Many cases of TMJ disorders tend to go away on their own after a period of time. However, if symptoms do not go away, there may be some treatment that can be done to alleviate your discomfort. Some of these treatments are used with the others, to give you the best possible comfort.

  • Medication
    • Pain relievers
    • Anti-inflammatories
    • Muscle relaxants
    • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Therapy
    • Oral splint or mouth guard
    • Counseling
    • Physical therapy
  • Surgery and Other
    • Injections
    • Arthrocentesis
    • TMJ arthroscopy
    • Condylotomy
    • Open joint surgery

When you go to your doctor or dentist, they will have more information on these treatments for you to talk over with them.

Management

Managing TMJ disorders on your own may require you to make some lifestyle changes. Habits such as chewing pens and pencils, grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw are all possible contributors to your discomfort. You can do some things to help manage your TMJ disorder symptoms.

  • Temperature Therapy
    • Applying ice or moist, warm heat to the side of your jaw may help to ease pain
  • Massage and Stretching
    • Your dentist or doctor might show some exercises that you can do to strengthen your jaw muscles.
  • Avoid Overuse
    • By eating soft foods and cutting your food into small portions, you will help to take less pressure off of your jaw. Chewing gum and sticky or chewy foods should also be avoided.

It is not too difficult to manage your TMJ disorder symptoms. As long as you take care to chew mindfully and work on individual habits, your pain will probably go away in no time. However, keep in mind that the symptoms can come back, and try not to go back to your old habits when you finally feel better.

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