TMJ is temporomandibular joint syndrome and is a disorder that impacts the muscles and nerves of the jaw. When the joint that connects the jaw to the skull is injured it can lead to pain and popping of the jaw during chewing. TMJ can also cause swelling, headaches, and joint dislocation. Many people who suffer from TMJ often wonder if there’s anything they can do about the pain. Thankfully, there are many effective TMJ treatment options available.
Most people who suffer from TMJ have pain in the joint of their jaw located just in front of their ear. They may also notice popping or clicking during eating, ear pain, headaches, sore and tight neck and jaw muscles. Some sufferers of TMJ have instances where their jaw will lock or dislocate as well.
TMJ is diagnosed by your doctor during a physical exam. While there are no tests to specify TMJ, if your doctor suspects you may be suffering from this disorder they may refer you to a doctor or dentist specializing in this part of the body to confirm the diagnosis. If they do have an understanding of the condition they may be able to get you started with TMJ treatment.
TMJ can be treated at home effectively. Many of the TMJ treatments at home involve lifestyle changes. Stress and relaxation techniques can help you relax your neck and jaw muscles. Ice packs can be used to reduce swelling and irritation of the impacted area. Ibuprofen or Aleve are excellent over the counter pain medications that effectively treat TMJ.
You can also pay close attention to which instances lead to more difficulties. Sometimes people find great relief when they stop chewing on gum and firm taffy like candy. Cutting tough meats into smaller pieces can also help reduce the strain on your jaw.
For cases of TMJ that cannot be effectively treated at home, there are more extreme TMJ treatment options to help you find relief. A bite guard can be prescribed and fitted to help keep your teeth in alignment and prevent teeth grinding. This will ease tension on your jaw and hopefully lessen the condition.
Botox has also been used in the past to help relax jaw muscles. However there are risks and Botox is not an FDA approved treatment option for TMJ.
In extreme cases, dental surgery or surgery on your jaw may be required to fix any underlying issues. Your doctor may wish to prescribe prescription strength pain medications if over the counter medications aren’t helping with your pain control.
Speak with your doctor about your options and what treatment options will be best for you.