Temporomandibular joint disorder is a condition that occurs as a result of problems with the jaw and surrounding muscles. The temporomandibular joint is the hinge that connects the lower portion of the jaw to the skull. This joint is located on either side of the head, just in front of the ear. Injuries to the temporomandibular joint can occur as the result of trauma, such as whiplash or a blow to the head. TMJ injuries can also be the result of grinding or clenching the teeth, or arthritic conditions.
Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
TMJ disorder can cause an array of symptoms. The patient might experience pain in the face, jaw, ear, head, neck, and shoulders. They might have difficulty opening the mouth very far, and the jaw might get stuck in an open or closed position. There may be a clicking or popping sound when the mouth is open or closed. The patient might have difficulty chewing, and the face may feel tired or swollen.
Home Remedies for TMJ Pain
If you suffer from TMJ pain, there are some conservative treatments that you can try at home to ease your pain.
- Apply ice packs and moist heat to the face. First, hold an ice pack to the painful area for about five minutes. Then stretch the jaw by doing exercises recommended by your dentist. After stretching, apply moist heat (such as a warm washcloth) to the face for about five minutes. This can be repeated several times a day.
- Choose soft, easy to chew food like soup, mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs, and yogurt. Avoid hard or crunchy foods.
- Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications like Tylenol, Aleve, or Motrin. This will help to reduce pain and swelling.
Restorative Dentistry for TMJ Pain
If you suffer from TMJ, it is imperative that you see your dentist to address these issues. Your dentist might recommend the following treatments:
- Prescription medication—Muscle relaxers are sometimes prescribed for people who have TMJ who clench their jaws; this type of medication can relax the muscles in the jaw, easing pain. Anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications are sometimes prescribed, as well. Some TMJ sufferers clench their jaws as a response to stress, and reducing stress responses through the use of anti-anxiety or anti-depressant medications can result in an improvement of TMJ symptoms.
- Splints and night guards – These are plastic mouthpieces that cover the teeth and protect the mouth from the effects of grinding and clenching the teeth. They also serve to correct the bite.
- Dental procedures – Your dentist may recommend that you undergo one or more dental procedures to improve your TMJ symptoms. TMJ symptoms are sometimes caused by an improper bite, so correcting the bite can relieve the symptoms. Restorative dental procedures for TMJ pain can include replacing missing teeth, applying crowns or bridges, or wearing braces to correct the bite.
When you see your dentist to discuss your TMJ symptoms, he may take x-rays or take a cast of your teeth. This information will help your dentist to see whether your bite is correct and whether you could benefit from dental procedures to properly align the bite.
If you suffer from TMJ disorder or have any of the symptoms associated with it, contact the office of Dr. TJ Bolt. Dr. Bolt specializes in treating TMJ syndrome, and his practice is devoted to finding the cause of your pain. Call Dr. Bolt’s office to make an appointment to address your TMJ syndrome today.Read also: