TMJ, TMD, Jaw Pain

Honeygo Village Dentistry - Jaw Pain

The TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is an important joint. Located anterior to the ears, the jaw (mandible) is able to articulate with the skull to allow speech and chewing.  It is common to have issues with the TMJ: pain, swelling, clicking or popping noises, jaw locking open or closed, and headaches.  In severe cases, these symptoms can lead to a diagnosis of TMD (temporomandibular disorder).  There are options in treating and relieving the issues associated with the TMJ and TMD.

The first line of defense is to try to relieve these jaw issues before needing dental or medical intervention(s).  The following are a list of remedies that can help improve TMJ discomforts:

·         Reduce stress to decrease chances of undue joint stress (clenching and grinding)

·         OTC pain relievers

·         Refrain from chewing gum or eating hard chewy foods

·         Eat a soft diet

·         Jaw exercises and face massages

·         Use moist heat or ice to reduce pain and inflammation

A dental professional can prescribe treatments to reduce the symptoms of TMD.  For individuals who clench or grind their teeth, a night guard or splint may decrease the amount of force placed on the teeth, jaw, and the muscles of the head and neck.  In some cases, the occlusion needs to be adjusted by either occlusal reduction or orthodontic treatment.

Receiving treatments from other healthcare professionals may be added to reduce symptoms.  A physical therapist can help with exercising the TMJ along with the neck.  Ultrasound and TENS therapy can allow relief.  In rare and severe TMD cases, surgery (arthroscopy or open joint) may be needed to improve the TMJ and its articulation.  The best scenario is to find a self-help solution to treat TMD and its symptoms; although, there are a handful of treatments and professionals that can help. 

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