The tempromandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull. TMJ disorders can cause pain in your jaw joint and the surrounding muscles. Pain from TMJ can be occasional or frequent and vary from mild to severe. A variety of steps can be taken to minimize, prevent, and treat TMJ pain.
The following steps can aid in minimizing TMJ pain before it starts.
– Eat soft foods, cut into small pieces
– Avoid sticky, chewy foods
– Avoid chewing gum and hard candies
– Exercise to strengthen jaw muscles
– Avoid chewing on objects such as pens
– Sleep with good posture and neck support
– Maintain proper posture
Non-invasive techniques for TMJ relief are great solutions for mild pain.
– Applying heat of cold
– Stretching your jaw as prescribed by dentist/physical therapist
– Massaging of jaw and temple
– Relaxation techniques like meditation
When preventative treatment and medicine are combined TMJ pain can be treated effectively and efficiently.
– Over the counter pain relievers like Tylenol, Motrin, Advil
– Prescription muscle relaxers to relax the muscles around the jaw and joint
– Prescribed sedatives may help with jaw clenching at night
Non-medicinal treatments and therapies can help with ongoing TMJ pain.
– Bite/night guards to prevent teeth clenching
– Physical therapy
– Counseling to prevent behaviors that trigger TMJ pain like teeth grinding, mindless chewing etc.
Surgery & Procedures
As a latter option, a doctor or dentist may suggest a more invasive procedure to address your TMJ pain.
– Arthrocentesis is the insertion of needles into the joint to help remove inflammatory byproducts
– Corticosteriod injections like Botox
– Joint replacement surgery – controversial and should be avoided if possible
TMJ pain affects an estimated 10 million Americans. Using a variety of treatments such as preventative methods, therapy, and medicine can help reduce joint pain and prevent future TMJ disorders.