How to Relieve TMJ Pain | The Ricco Dental Group
If you have TMJ, you know how the pain and discomfort of this condition can impact your quality of life. Fortunately, you can take many steps to relieve your pain.
How TMJ Works
Understanding how to combat the painful symptoms of TMJ starts with knowing how the condition works. TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint. These joints connect your lower jaw and your skull.
The temporomandibular joint is a complex mechanism you can envision as a combination of a ball, socket, and sliding hinge. Jaw injuries, arthritis, teeth grinding, and normal wear and tear can cause problems. The disc inside the joint can also become damaged or dislocated.
Symptoms of TMJ
- Pain in one or both TMJ joints
- Aching pain in the face or around the ear
- Jaw pain and tenderness
- Pain or difficulty while chewing
- Jaw locking, making it hard to open and close the mouth
Stress and TMJ
Stress is a major contributor to the severity of TMJ symptoms. Stress can make you clench your jaw unconsciously during the day or grind your teeth at night. TMJ pain can, in turn, increase your stress levels, leading to a cycle that is difficult to break.
Home Care for TMJ Symptoms
Many TMJ patients receive advice to reduce stress in their daily lives, but it isn't always easy to combat this problem. Following are some steps you can take to reduce stress:
- Eat healthy
- Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco
- Practice relaxing habits like yoga, meditation, massage, taking walks, and breathing exercises
- Focus on getting enough sleep
Eat Softer Foods
While you are having a TMJ flare-up, stay away from hard, crunchy, chewy, and sticky foods. Eating softer foods can help your jaw muscles relax and alleviate pain.
Avoid Chewing Gum
Gum chewing impacts TMJ pain. Avoid gum while you are having a flare-up or if you are at all prone to TMJ symptoms.
Use Cold and Heat
You can soothe TMJ symptoms by placing cold packs or moist heat on your jaw.
Avoid Wide Jaw Movements
As much as possible, avoid yelling, yawning, and singing while you are having a flare-up.
Care From Your Dentist
Your dentist may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, or you can take over-the-counter pain medication. Your dentist may also fit you with an oral splint to keep your jaws in the correct position while you sleep. In more serious cases, BOTOX injections may be helpful to relax tense muscles.
Call The Ricco Dental Group
TMJ can be a debilitating disorder that you should take seriously. You may need TMJ treatment if you have any of the symptoms described above. Please call our Plainview, NY, office at 516-931-3999 to schedule an appointment with one of our expert dentists. We can help you relieve your pain and move forward with comfort.