If you have chronic jaw pain, you’re not alone. About 12 percent of Americans experience TMJ/TMD dysfunction, the majority being women. It can be frustrating and painful. Luckily, depending on the severity, the disorder can sometimes be treated at home. Our professionals at Hillstream Dental can also conduct tests to determine what is causing your pain and provide a treatment plan. In most cases, the dysfunction can be resolved within a short period of time.
What is TMJ/TMD?
TMJ disorder (TMD) is an easier way to say Temporomandibular Disorder. This disorder affects the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the facial nerves that surround it. Your TMJ works as a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to the skull’s temporal bones located in front of each ear. This is the joint that makes your jaw open and close to speak, yawn, or chew.
Common TMJ/TMD Symptoms
Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Pain in and around the ear
- Head and neck aches
- Jaw or jaw muscles tenderness
- Jaw pain, especially when biting, chewing, or yawning
- Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
- Popping or clicking noise when opening the mouth
- Sleeping problems
What Causes TMJ/TMD?
Some known causes of TMJ disorders are:
- Teeth clenching or grinding, also known as bruxism
- Vitamin deficiencies, particularly magnesium
- Physical injury
- Autoimmune diseases
- Connective tissues diseases that can affect the temporomandibular joint
Can I Treat TMD at Home?
There are many ways to successfully treat the disorder at home. Some lifestyle changes and self-care may be all you need. A combination of both reducing jaw movement and some gentle jaw exercise is recommended. Try to avoid things like chewing gum, eating chewy foods, or clenching your jaw. As for gentle exercise, try slightly stretching the jaw and massaging the muscles around it.
Professional Help with TMJ/TMD
Before self-treating, it’s best to be seen by a professional to rule out any other dental issues. If you think that you may be suffering from TMJ/TMD, contact Hillstream Dental. The practitioners in our Rochester Hills and St. Clair Shores offices can determine the best treatment to relieve your discomfort. We never like to see our clients in pain!