The pain caused by TMJ (temporomandibular joints) disorders can be stressful for those who suffer from it. Simple activities such as having dinner with family or conducting a presentation in the workplace may invite distracting jaw pain or headaches. Although there are ways to help relieve the pain at home, visiting a dentist to diagnose…
What Methods Are Available to Deal With the Pain of TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint connects the mandible to the skull. If this joint, which acts like a sliding hinge, is damaged or irritated in any way, it can cause discomfort in the lower jaw, a condition called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Many cases of TMJ require treatment from a dental or medical professional, but there are ways to temporarily alleviate discomfort at home too.
How to manage TMJ pain
The best way to monitor TMJ discomfort at home is to stay away from anything that may cause irritation to the lower jaw and to utilize home remedies and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The following are four specific ways that patients can help manage the discomfort caused by TMJ disorder.
TMJ discomfort can develop for many reasons, from inflammation related to arthritis to the overuse of the jaw muscles. Home remedies can reduce the overall discomfort, and in minor cases, they may be all that is required to alleviate discomfort for the long term. Many patients have reported success in managing their TMJ pain by placing ice packs on the affected area, doing daily jaw exercises to improve the range of motion, and massaging the lower jaw.
Pain relief medication
Over-the-counter pain reliever medications, such as NSAIDs, can decrease pain and inflammation in and around the joint, which helps manage the pain. However, this does not typically address the underlying cause of the discomfort, so it is important to also visit a dental professional. In certain cases, prescribed medications such as muscle relaxants can help treat TMJ.
As is the case with any discomfort related to the joints and muscles in the body, rest is important. Rest enables the joint to heal and strengthen. This is particularly helpful if the discomfort is related to overuse, such as for those who may regularly chew gum or struggle with bruxism (teeth grinding at night).
Stress can increase the risk of bruxism because it can cause people to clench their jaw all day. It can also affect the body’s ability to heal quickly, which enables the development and continuation of TMJ discomfort. By reducing stress, TMJ symptoms are often alleviated.
When to seek dental treatment
It is important to notify the dentist about any jaw discomfort. TMJ that is detected in the early stages is easier to treat, and it is often as simple as wearing a nightguard for bruxism. If more severe symptoms develop, patients should schedule a visit with the dentist specifically to deal with the TMJ symptoms.
Our dental team helps patients with TMJ disorder
TMJ disorder affects millions of people in the United States every year. If you have symptoms of TMJ disorder, such as a clicking sound in the jaw, a stiff or locked jaw, or chronic jaw discomfort, contact our dental team today to schedule a visit to find out the cause and the best way to treat the symptoms.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: TMJ Dentist in Albuquerque, NM.
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