It’s estimated that more than 10 million Americans suffer from temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain. Since November is National TMJ Awareness Month, we’re taking a closer look at TMJ pain, remedies, and TMJ stretches. While your Bridgeport / Trumbull Line dentist is the best resource for how to alleviate TMJ pain or discomfort, there are steps you can take at home to reduce the soreness.
What Is TMJ?TMJ refers to the temporomandibular joint, located at the base of the skill that connects the upper jaw (maxilla) and the lower jaw (mandible). TMJ isn’t like most joints in the body. The mandible has a rounded protrusion the fits snuggly against an indention in the skull. An articular disc, or piece of cartilage, is nestled between the two bones. Ligaments hold these three pieces of the TMJ together. Those ligaments originate from different areas of the neck and head and support movement of the lower jaw.Without this ball and socket joint, you wouldn’t be able to swallow, speak, or chew. The TMJ opens your mouth in two different ways. The first is similar to a door hinge, allowing you to open and close your mouth. A sliding motion, called translation, is the second movement made by the TMJ. This type of movement allows the lower jaw to shift back and forth or side to side. Translation is most beneficial for yawning, eating, and talking.
What Causes TMJ Pain?The TMJ is like any other joint in your body. With overuse or a fracture, the joint will become sore and you may notice swelling. The TMJ doesn’t typically experience arthritis, so most pain in the joint is temporary. Speak with your Shelton dentist before attempting any TMJ home remedies, but heat and ice are often used to remedy swelling and soreness. The hot and cold compresses will treat the muscles and ligaments surrounding the joint to slowly eliminate the pain.When there are problems with your face or jaw muscles, your CT dentist may diagnose you with temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Only a professional dentist should diagnose a TMD condition or offer a pain treatment plan. Some TMD symptoms may be indicators of another oral issue. The most common TMD symptoms include:
- Facial swelling
- Tenderness in haw muscles
- Jaw that “locks” or settles out of place.
- Constant soreness in the ear, jaw, or face
- Migraine-like headaches, pressure behind the eyes, and earaches
- Popping or clicking sound when you open or close your mouth
CT Dentist TMJ TreatmentWhen your CT dentist makes a TMJ diagnosis, they will explain there is no single cure for the condition. There are several ways to treat the pain, including over-the-counter medications and TMJ home remedies. No one treatment will work for all TMJ pain sufferers, but there are numerous treatment options to consider to find the one that works best for you.
- Anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medicine, aspirin, or Tylenol
- Moist heat or ice pack
- Bite plate or splint
- Essential oils for TMJ
- TMJ stretches
- Jaw joint surgery