You probably don't give your temporomandibular joints too much thought. But, they play a very important role. These joints connect your jaw to your skull and are activated every time you speak, chew, and swallow.
But, if you suffer from a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, then you may be actively looking for ways to manage your condition and alleviate your discomfort.
What Are TMJ Disorders?
If you have a TMJ disorder, then you're probably experiencing pain in the jaw joints and the muscles that control the movement of the jaw.
Different factors can influence TMJ disorders, such as genetics, injury, arthritis, and even bruxism. TMJ therapy can include self-care exercises or treatments as well as surgery if other methods have proven to be ineffective.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorders
If you suspect you might have a TMJ disorder, talk to your dentist to get a proper evaluation. Common symptoms include:
- Jaw pain or tenderness
- Pain in one or both joint bones
- Pain around the ear
- Pain or difficulty when chewing
- Facial pain
- Difficulty at opening and closing the mouth
- Clicking sound when opening the mouth or chewing
If there is no pain or limited range of movement, then it's possible that you may not need TMJ therapy.
If you do have difficulties opening your mouth and eating, and you are in pain, then you should seek medical assistance.
10 Things You Can Do to Manage TMJ
Here are some tips that can help you relieve TMJ disorders symptoms:
- Avoid straining your TMJ by chewing hard foods or opening your mouth too wide.
- Massage the muscles around the jaw to release tension in the jaw and surrounding areas.
- Acupuncture can also help relax the muscles and ease the symptoms.
- Apply ice to reduce pain and inflammation when necessary.
- Apply a warm cloth and moist heat if the muscles are in need of relaxation.
- If the symptoms are more intense, you can try medication to relieve the tension and pain. Use OTC painkillers until you can get prescribed medication.
- Practice techniques that help you relax if you grind and clench your teeth, as these habits can influence the tension built up on the TMJ.
- Stimulate your jaw with different exercises that strengthen the jaw.
- Stretch your jaw by using stretching techniques that you can do at home or with a physical therapist.
- Get a mouth guard if you grind your teeth or an oral splint to keep your jaw in a relaxed position.
If you need assistance with your TMJ disorder or if you are experiencing chronic jaw pain and are not sure what the reason could be, you can visit us at Pearl Dental Studio
Dr. Lindsay Cash will examine you and determine the best therapy for your TMJ condition.
If you would like to meet Dr. Cash, you can contact us today and schedule an appointment.