The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) acts as a hinge connecting the jaw to the skull’s temporal bones. It’s the reason behind your jaw’s mobility, which is necessary for speaking, chewing, and yawning.
When TMJ disorders occur
When you develop jaw problems or issues with your facial muscles, temporomandibular disorders (TMD) occur. Symptoms of problems with the TMJ include tenderness or even serious pain in the jaw joint area, face, neck or shoulders.
You may notice difficulty moving your mouth properly or opening it wide, weird sounds when chewing or moving the mouth, and facial swelling. The TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centre of Northern Indiana says you may need craniofacial pain management to treat the disorder.
Your treatment options
Many people think that, since TMJ disorders have something to do with the jawbone, those who suffer from it have surgery as their only resort. The truth is they have several treatment options, many of which don’t involve going under the knife. Some involve at-home care, while others dentist-prescribed medications and dental appliances.
To relieve the symptoms of your TMJ disorder, try using cold packs (for 10 minutes) or moist heat (for 5 minutes) several times a day. Eating soft foods (yogurt, scrambled eggs, soup, soft cheeses, and mashed vegetables) will also help relieve pressure and pain from the affected area. Ask your dentist about the best relaxation techniques aimed at loosening up the jaw.
Specialized dental treatments
For faster results, seek specialized treatments from your dentist. In many cases, dental health care experts specializing in these types of disorders recommend the use of night guards or oral splints.
These mouthpieces, made from plastic, prevent the upper teeth from touching the lower teeth, resulting in reduced grinding and clenching. You may also have to undergo non-surgical dental work, such as crowns, bridges, or dental braces, to replace lost teeth.
TMJ disorders may affect the quality of your life, so get treatment as soon as possible.