TMJ (temporomandibular joint) syndrome can cause pain that interferes with your rest, chewing ability, and quality of life. If you experience TMJ symptoms, you may be searching for pain relief options.
Seeing your dentist can be an important first step in diagnosing and treating TMJ. Dentists understand how the bones and muscles of the face and jaw work together with the teeth, and they can provide many helpful treatment options, including non-invasive methods.
What is TMJ?
TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint. You have two of these joints where your jaw connects to your skull. The temporomandibular joint is a complex sliding hinge that normally allows a wide range of motion.
When this joint is injured, strained, or otherwise compromised, the resulting painful symptoms are called TMJ disorder.
Possible Causes of TMJ
The cause of this disorder may be unclear. Often, a combination of causes contributes to the pain you experience.
- Jaw injury from an accident or blow to the face
- Arthritis in the joint
Some patients with TMJ disorders also grind or clench their teeth, a condition called bruxism. Teeth grinding does not necessarily cause TMJ, but the two disorders can be related.
Symptoms of TMJ
- Pain in temporomandibular joints
- Chewing is painful or difficult
- Jaw locking
- Jaw pain
- Pain in the face
- Ear pain
Pain Relief Options
Stress often contributes to TMJ symptoms. Muscle tension in the face and jaw can start a cycle of discomfort that is difficult to resolve. Anything you can do to reduce your stress levels, including meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises, may lower your tension and lessen your symptoms.
A simple ice pack can relieve many TMJ symptoms. If ice alone does not work, try alternating ice with moist heat.
Avoid Wide Jaw Movements
While experiencing pain, try to avoid singing, yelling, or yawning widely.
Eat Soft Foods
Avoid chewy, crunchy, or sticky foods when you feel jaw pain. Foods like mashed potatoes, ice cream, and pasta allow your jaw to relax.
Anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen can help to soothe the irritated muscles and joints.
Botox relaxes facial muscles, reducing tension and promoting pain relief.
Custom Stabilization Splints
A TMJ splint works by holding the jaw steady and relaxing the associated muscles.
Frequently Asked Questions About TMJ Treatment
Will TMJ go away on its own?
Sometimes, TMJ does go away on its own. However, we can help you decide the best course of action if you have painful symptoms and need relief.
Can TMJ result from a car accident?
Yes, TMJ can result from any physical trauma that involves the head or face. We can help you determine the source of your discomfort and work toward a resolution.
Call Manhattan Dental Spa
If you suffer from the symptoms above, you may have TMJ syndrome. We can assess your symptoms and create a treatment plan. Please call our Murray Hill, NYC, office at 212-683-2530 to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors today.