Did you know, although it is treated as a disease, Temporomandibular Joint Disorder is a group of disorders that affect your TMJ? It is also one of the common joint problems—affecting 12 percent of adults between 20 and 40 years. Luckily, you can ease the TMJ pain with the available treatments.
What is TMJ?
When you talk or chew, you use the Temporomandibular Joint. TMJ is a hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. The joint is located at the front of your ears (one on each side). Any injury to the bones or joints will affect your jaw movement and function.
There is no known cause of Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction or Disorder, but dentists believe certain factors can cause injuries such as:
- Whiplash or heavy blow to the jaw
- Teeth grinding and clenching
- Arthritis of the joint
The symptoms of TMJ differ based on the severity, and it can be temporary or last for many years. Some of the common TMD symptoms include:
- Pain or tenderness of the face
- Jaws clicking or popping
- Trouble when chewing
- Swelling on the side of the face
- Problems when opening your mouth
What Are the Jaw Pain Treatment Options?
In some cases, the TMJ pain clears on its own. However, if the discomfort persists, treatment may be an option, and here are five ways to manage TMD:
Pain relievers are the initial set of medications that the doctor can prescribe. But, if they don’t work, then the Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs may be used.
Antidepressants may also be a treatment option if stress is the cause of the trigger. Remember, stress causes the tightening of the facial muscle and jaw clenching. Muscle relaxants are another form of treatment.
If you have persistent headaches, the headache treatment may be used alongside other medications.
2. Home Remedies
Heat and cold therapy can come in handy. Apply the ice pack on your jaw, but avoid direct skin. Place the ice pack for 10 minutes before switching to moist heat.
Additionally, avoid stressful joint movements that may aggravate the problem. Also, try eating soft foods that don’t require a lot of chewing.
Stretching and massaging is also ideal for relieving pain. The dentist will give a set of exercises that can help with the discomfort.
Physical therapy, along with exercises and stretches, may go a long way in reducing the pain.
A night guard or splint may be ideal if you suffer from teeth grinding and clenching. These mouthpieces are worn to prevent the upper and lower jaw from touching. The night guard lessens the effects of grinding and also corrects your bite by positioning your teeth correctly.
The splints can immobilize the jaw, but they are used as a short term treatment option.
4. Alternative Medication
Alternative or complementary treatments are ideal for chronic TMD. Therapists recommend acupuncture that involves the use of hair-thin needles on the affected part of the jaw.
Biofeedback is the use of electronic devices to check the tightness of the muscles. It is used alongside relaxation techniques to help relieve tense muscles.
TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) uses a low-level of electrical currents to relax your facial joints and muscles provide relief.
TMJ surgery is done when these other treatments fail. Different procedures, such as open-joint surgery, corticosteroid injections, and TMJ arthroscopy, are some of the surgical options. Our dentist in West Hollywood will recommend the appropriate surgical procedure, if needed, based on the severity of your condition. They will also discuss the potential benefits and risks of TMJ surgery.
How to Relieve Jaw Pain When Brushing?
Brushing while you have TMJ may be painful, but you can reduce the discomfort with these tips:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and antiseptic mouthwash
- Apply moist heat and ice after brushing
- A rubber stimulator may be used instead if you can’t open your mouth properly.
Mild TMJ pain clears on its own. However, if the symptoms persist, then TMJ treatment may be used. Visit Smile Atelier Beverly Hills for more information on the available treatments for TMD.