Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ may affect up to 10 million Americans in the United States. Some people may suffer from this condition without realizing it. If you have pain in the jaw joint and the muscles that control your jaw, you may be a sufferer. If so, you need to understand the symptoms and the possible treatments for TMJ.
In additional to jaw pain that often occurs when you open your mouth wide, you may also suffer from headaches and earaches. You might also experience pressure behind your eyes. Also, your jaws can actually lock up or go out of their regular position. If you notice that your teeth no longer fit together the way they used to or you hear clicks and pops when you open your mouth, TMJ may be the culprit. To get a diagnosis, you should visit your dentist or physician. They will be able to recommend a variety of treatments to help you recover from this painful condition.
In some cases, your healthcare professional may prescribe pain relief medications to help you cope. You might be prescribed a tricyclic antidepressant that has proven to be effective on TMJ pain. Your treatment may also include muscle relaxants. If you are clenching your teeth at night, you may be prescribed a sedative to help you stop this destructive habit. Your dentist may also suggest some at-home treatments to help the condition resolve.
For some people, TMJ symptoms can resolve in a few weeks or months. Home treatments include eating a soft diet to take the strain off of your jaw. You should give up nuts, apples, or any other food that can put pressure on that area. If you are a gum-chewer, you need to put that habit aside. Your doctor or dentist may also give you a series of jaw exercises to help strengthen your jaw muscles that you can do each day.You should also make certain that you do not tense your facial muscles throughout the day. With luck and persistence, you may avoid more aggressive treatments such as the splints commonly used to correct this issue.
TMJ can cause you severe discomfort and trouble chewing. If you are experiencing symptoms, consult with your dentist or physician for a diagnosis and help in managing the pain. Often, TMJ will improve with the help of DIY therapies. Be sure to try these options before you consider more drastic measures.