TMJ symptoms can be very disruptive. The TMJ, also known as the temporomandibular joint, is responsible for opening and closing your mouth. When this joint gets tight, stressed or overworked, it can produce symptoms such as clicking, locking and pain in the jaw. While your dentist can help relieve chronic jaw pain associated with TMD (temporomandibular disorder), if you are experiencing TMJ discomfort for the first time, you may want to try some home remedies first. In many cases, symptoms dissipate within two weeks, or when the jaw has had a chance to rest. Here are some ways to reduce your jaw discomfort at home:
- Manage the pain with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and pain medications.
- Try to eat soft foods diet.
- Avoid chewing gum or eating especially chewy foods.
- Do not open your mouth wide.
- Ask your dentist for instructions on how to gently stretch the jaw muscle without straining it.
- Consider stress-reducing techniques to relax your entire body, including the jaw.
- Apply warm compresses on the area of pain for 20 min, followed by lower jaw exercises that include moving that jaw from side to side for 5 minutes.
- Perform gentle massage on the jaw joint.
When home remedies are not working and your TMJ discomfort is persistent or getting worse, it is time to let your dentist investigate the underlying cause. For some, it is a result of teeth misalignment that needs to be corrected by orthodontics. For many others, however, TMJ problems originate from a teeth grinding or teeth clenching habit. In such cases, a custom nighttime mouthguard is used to relieve your jaw pain and protect your smile while you sleep.
Don’t live with jaw pain. Do yourself a favor and try treating your TMJ symptoms at the earliest onset. This may help you avoid progressive inflammation and strain on the jaw muscle and benefit from the most conservative treatment.
Want to talk to a TMJ specialist in Marietta? Call Gilreath Family Dentistry today!
Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV,