It’s no wonder why disorders of the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, are so common and can be quite painful and aggravating. As the two joints that connect the upper and lower jaw, the TMJ likely sees more stressful use throughout the day than any other joint.
From talking to eating and swallowing, the TMJ is prone to overuse, soreness, and misalignment. Along with general wear and tear and potentially other internal factors such as disorders, TMD, or TMJ dysfunction occurs frequently and can be acute or chronic with pain levels from mild to severe.
Since TMD, especially when severe, can cause a variety of ailments including jaw pain, headaches, earaches, and even pain in the shoulders, early identification, treatment, and management can help keep the symptoms at bay. Several management techniques can be done at home and without medical supervision.
- Eat soft foods and minimize forcefully biting while eating. Since the TMJ is the pivot point for the lower jaw when eating, reducing the force exerted while chewing will help prevent fatigue and strain of the muscles and ligaments.
- Apply moist heat or cold packs. Although the movement and use of the TMJ are different than other joints, the structure is similar. Like other joint soreness, pain in the TMJ can be alleviated with heat or ice.
- Take anti-inflammatory medication. Like heat and ice, using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines can help reduce swelling and pain while improving mobility of the joint.
- Wear a night guard or mouth splint. Especially noticeable in side sleepers, the involuntary movement or relaxation of the jaw when sleeping can cause misalignment of the TMJ overnight.
- Seek more advanced treatment from a dentist. If home treatments are not offering much relief, your dentist may suggest other treatments for TMD. These include ultrasound therapy, trigger-point injections, and others.
There is no reason to keep suffering from TMD. The team at Forestream Dental in Depew, NY, can offer management solutions and create a treatment plan specific to you and your needs. Dr. Evola and the staff can also treat severe cases of TMD in the office and help get rid of your jaw pain. Contact us at 716-656-8686 or visit www.forestreamdental.com to set up a consultation today.