TMJ pain can flare up at any time. It may come and go, but when you feel it, you need fast relief. TMJ pain begins in the jaw and may spread to the facial muscles and even the neck. It can even cause headaches and ear pain.
How do you get relief from TMJ pain? Here are some suggestions for easing the symptoms of TMJ disorder and when to seek professional treatment.
What is TMJ?
TMJ is the abbreviation for the temporomandibular joint, the place on each side of the face where the lower jaw connects to the head. This hinge joint allows you to open and close your mouth to speak and chew. When one or both of the TMJ become inflamed or irritated in some way, it is considered TMJ disorder.
Common Symptoms of TMJ Disorder
The following symptoms often indicate TMJ disorder is present:
- Jaw pain
- Headaches, especially in the temple region of the head
- Pain when chewing
- Tightness in the cheek or facial muscles
- Limited range of motion in the jaw
- Ear pain
- Jaw locked shut
- Neck pain
- Clicking or popping sound when opening and closing the mouth
- Swelling in the sides of the face
Treatment for TMJ Pain
If you are experiencing pain or any of the other symptoms above, you may find relief from the following remedies:
- Apply ice to the sides of your face and jaw to reduce swelling and inflammation.
- Take over the counter anti-inflammatory pain medication, such as ibuprofen.
- Rest your jaw as much as possible.
- Eat a liquid or soft food diet to limit movement of your jaw.
When to Seek Professional Treatment for TMJ Pain
If you have tried the above remedies and you still have TMJ pain for a week or more, it may be time to seek professional treatment from your dentist. Dentists specialize in the structure of the jaw as it pertains to dental function and health, making them especially qualified to treat TMJ disorder. Your dentist may provide the following treatments:
- Mouthguards and splints. A mouthguard or splint is an oral appliance that helps to keep your jaw in proper alignment when you open and close your mouth.
- Muscle relaxers. Your dentist may prescribe muscle relaxers to help relieve the tightness of the facial muscles which is likely the source of the pain.
- Stretching exercises. Your dentist can teach you stretching exercises that are designed to relieve pain and improve range of motion in your jaw.
Feeling TMJ Pain? Contact Us Today
- Renan Williams, DDS provides treatment for TMJ disorder. If you’re experiencing pain or other TMJ symptoms, we can evaluate your condition and provide the necessary treatment. Our goal is to provide long term solutions for TMJ disorder so that your symptoms won’t keep coming back. We get to the source of the problem to prevent future flare ups.
Frequently Asked Questions About TMJ Disorder
Is TMJ disorder the same as lockjaw?
TMJ disorder can cause your jaw to lock shut, but it is not the same condition that causes lockjaw. The term lockjaw is associated with tetanus, a bacterial infection that causes the jaw and neck muscles to tighten up and prevent eating and swallowing.
Does TMJ treatment require surgery?
In severe cases of TMJ, the joint itself may become so damaged that surgery is the only solution. Surgical reconstruction of the joint can provide permanent relief of your TMJ symptoms, but it is only necessary in a small number of patients.