TMJ disorder is a condition that stems from your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This joint is one of the most complex and most used joints in the body. Every time you eat, drink, speak, smile, laugh, or just move your mouth for anything, you are using this joint. Occasionally it can feel sore after gnawing on something really chewy, but it goes away without too much worry. Other times, it can be painful and reappear - or be chronic. This is TMJ disorder.
So what can you do if you think you have TMJ disorder? Well, seeing your dentist is always an ideal place to start, but there are some things you can do at home, too.
Make Lifestyle Changes
TMJ disorder can happen to anyone, but sometimes there are things that you do in your daily life that may aggravate the TMJ and cause pain. By removing these things or changing your behavior, you can reduce the symptoms. For instance:
- Stop chewing gum
- Eat soft foods - and avoid hard or chewy foods
- Don’t yawn wide
If you are hurting, you can take over-the-counter medicines, as well as try to gently massage the jaw or use ice packs. Find what works for you - and use it.
Reduce Your Stress
Stress can contribute to your TMJ disorder. Sometimes in stressful situations, you may find that you unconsciously begin clenching your jaw. This, in turn, can lead to pain in the jaw and aggravate TMJ disorder.
Take steps to reduce the stress in your life and begin practicing mindfulness.
For some, TMJ disorder may be due to clenching, teeth grinding, or need for bite correction. The use of stabilization splints can help to take pressure off the jaw. This dental device is often worn at night and can help to reposition and stabilize the jaw. It will not only reduce the pain you are feeling, but it may even help with alignment, too.
Although you may find mouthguards at your local drug store or online, having your dentist fit you for one - and have your condition adequately assessed - is your safest option.
Botox is a neurotoxin that paralyzes the muscles in the jaw so that you cannot clench your jaw. This, then, alleviates your symptoms. It is a minimally invasive procedure that can yield great results for those who choose this option. You will want to talk to your dentist to see if this is a good option for you.
For those who suffer from severe TMJ disorder, sometimes all the other options don’t work. In this case, your dentist may opt for certain surgical procedures, such as jaw joint replacements. These are not very common as most people find relief with the other, less invasive, procedures.
TMJ Disorder Treatment at San Francisco Dental Wellness
If you suffer from TMJ disorder and are curious about your treatment options, the dental experts San Francisco Dental Wellness handles all cases from mild to severe. Give them a call at 415-781-1944. Or request an appointment online.