The Temporomandibular Joints or TMJ are the joints in our head that connect the lower jaw to the skull. Whenever there is any movement of the lower jaw, while talking, chewing, etc., the TMJ comes into the picture. Sometimes, the TMJ may become sore due to various internal and external factors such as clenching of jaws, injury to the face, arthritis in the TMJ, etc. This results in a condition called TMD or Temporomandibular Joint Disorder.
What are the symptoms of TMD?
- Pain in the TMJ when you bite or chew food, talk, etc
- Limited movement of the jaws
- Popping sound when you move the jaw
- Swelling of the area around the TMJ
- Headache, especially in the mornings
- Ringing sound in the ears
- Worn out biting surfaces of the teeth
How can TMD be treated?
There are a few remedies to TMD which you can practice at home to get relief from TMD. Some of them are:
- Massage the TMJ regularly. This helps to relieve any pressure or stress that could be in the muscles and tissues around the TMJ.
- Avoid frequent snacking
- Avoid chewing gum as it can strain the muscles around the TMJ
- If you happen to clench your jaws, either consciously or subconsciously, get treated by a dentist. Do it at the earliest to keep the condition under control.
- Ensure your sleeping position does not stress the TMJ. Keep changing it often to relax the muscles of your face and head.
When these changes in everyday behavior do not help to alleviate the condition, you may require professional treatment from a dentist. The dentist will diagnose your condition and suggest a bruxism guard. The guard prevents contact between the teeth of both jaws, which keeps you from grinding your teeth. Besides, a nightguard may be suggested so that you do not snore or suffer from sleep apnea.
Apart from the appliances, the dentist may also suggest massage therapy to relieve the muscles of the stress. Botox therapy also helps the tissues around the TMJ relax, thereby reducing the pain. If the condition is severe, surgery may be the last resort option to get TMD treated.
Please schedule an online appointment or call us at (773) 374-9778 for Chicago and (708) 914-4381 for Homewood to have a consultation with Dr. Moore, and we will be happy to help.