Your TMJ, also known as your temporomandibular joint, is one of the most important joints in your body. Your TMJ connects your jaw to your skull on each side of your face. Without this jaw joint, you wouldn’t be able to open and close your mouth. Most people don’t think about their TMJ very often – until it starts to hurt. A painful TMJ can be an indication of TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder.
Here are some frequently asked questions to help you understand your TMJ and why this joint may be calling for your attention:
How Do I Know if It’s My TMJ?
While only a trained dentist can properly diagnose your TMJ dysfunction, there are a wide range of symptoms that can develop when this joint is strained, inflamed or damaged. We encourage patients to schedule an appointment if they experience jaw pain, clicking and popping noises from their jaw, severe headaches, neck/shoulder pain, difficulty opening their mouth or ringing or pain in their ears.
What is Causing My TMJ Discomfort?
There are cases in which a bad bite, arthritis or an injury can contribute to TMJ pain. However, most culprits are found in your lifestyle habits. Are you stressed out and clenching your teeth during the day? Are you grinding your teeth at night? Do you chew gum frequently?
Can I Treat My Painful Jaw at Home?
TMJ pain is most commonly an acute flare-up that can resolve on its own within a couple weeks. However, you will need to make some adjustments at home to encourage the jaw joint to heal and relax. This can involve a number of home remedies, including the following:
- Apply moist heat and/or ice
- Rest your jaw (avoid chewing gum or eating crunchy foods)
- Support your jaw when you yawn
- Consider jaw exercises
- Reduce your stress
- Take OTC anti-inflammatories
How Can a Dentist Treat TMJ Discomfort?
If your jaw pain never goes away or keeping coming back, please schedule a visit with us at Gainesville Dental Group. We can determine the specific cause of your jaw inflammation and recommend a permanent treatment plan to restore your comfort.
Posted on behalf of Gainesville Dental Group