TMJ Syndrome Symptoms and Relief
Your jaw is an important area of the body because it plays a major part in your ability to speak and eat. And while it’s not a body part that you would commonly associate with aches or pains, there are instances when your jaw may not be functioning as properly as it should, resulting in discomfort and inconvenience.
When you feel that there’s something wrong with your jaw, it’s best to have your trusted dentist look at your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This joint connects the jaw to your skull’s temporal bones and is responsible for making the lower jaw move forward, backward, and from one side to another — essentially, it lets the jaw operate as a “hinge” with the help of a system of ligaments, muscles, bones and discs. When you experience signs of problems with the muscles of your face and jaw, then TMJ syndrome or disorder could be a possibility.
What Causes TMJ Syndrome?
The exact cause of TMJ disorder is difficult to pinpoint because the symptoms can be present in other conditions. According to a seasoned dentist (Chino Valley), the disorder may be brought about by damage to the joint’s cartilage from a strong blow or impact, from arthritis, or from the erosion or misalignment of the shock-absorbing disc in the joint (the disc helps keep the jaw’s movements smooth).
The following are the common TMJ syndrome symptoms:
- A popping or clicking sound each time you open or close your mouth
- Pain when you yawn, chew or open the mouth widely
- Tender jaw muscles
- Jaws that lock or get stuck together
- A noticeable change in the way your upper and lower teeth fit together
- Facial swelling
- Facial pain
- Pain or pressure behind the eyes
It’s best to seek the attention of your dentist if the pain or tenderness is persistent or if you are having difficulty completely opening or closing your jaw. There is no single treatment, cure or home remedy that can entirely address TMJ disorder, so one or more of the following options may be recommended:
- Applying ice or moist heat to eliminate muscle pains and spasms.
- Wearing a dental appliance such as a splint or bite plate. Customized to fit your mouth, this appliance will keep the upper and lower from grinding together and can reduce the harmful effects of clenching.
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers (like aspirin and muscle relaxants) or anti-inflammatory drugs.
- Eating foods that are soft or have been cut up into small pieces, and avoiding foods that are chewy and sticky.
- Trying relaxation techniques, counseling or training to eliminate stress and reduce tension in the jaw.
- Performing massage and stretching exercises that can help stretch and strengthen the jaw muscles.
- Undergoing jaw joint surgery (as a last resort, if the joints of the jaw are involved and all other treatment options prove unsuccessful).
If you suspect you are suffering from TMJ syndrome symptoms, don’t allow it to get any worse. Contact your Prescott Valley dentist today!