Pro Smile Dental Care in Danville, California, treats all sorts of dental ailments, including TMJ. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) causes a lot of pain for many people. At-home treatments may lessen the pain, but sometimes a patient will need a dentist’s assistance to find relief.
What Is TMJ?
According to the Mayo Clinic, the temporomandibular joint is a hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. TMJ disorders (sometimes called TMD) cause pain in the muscles that control your jaw as well as in your jaw itself.
TMD can be caused by genetics, a jaw injury, teeth grinding, arthritis, or a combination of these causes.
At-Home TMJ Treatment Options
You can take several steps at home to soothe your TMJ pain. Here are a few recommendations:
- Hot & cold treatments: Cold treatments are helpful for joint inflammation, whereas heat treatments soothe muscle pain. During a bout of TMD, you may have to do a little experimenting to see whether a hot or cold treatment works best for you. Try relaxing with a heating pad or an ice pack or massaging your jaw with a warm handheld shower.
- Eating soft foods: Eating crunchy foods like carrot sticks or apples may cause TMJ discomfort. Chewing gum is another culprit. Try taking a week or two off crunchy foods. You may also need to avoid any foods that make you open your mouth very wide, like thick sandwiches or double hamburgers.
- Talking less: This can be a difficult step to put into practice, but it can be helpful. Consider communicating via email and text instead of making phone calls.
- Stress reduction: If grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw is causing you pain, you may need to reduce your stress levels or soothe your stress response. Reflect on what brings you a sense of peace: warm baths, yoga, meditation, music, etc.
- Taking over-the-counter pain relievers: You may be able to find a bit of relief by taking over-the-counter pain relievers. Make sure to follow the dosing instructions on the label.
Is It Time To Call A Dentist?
It’s time to talk to a dentist if your TMJ disorder is causing symptoms like these:
- Pain that lasts more than a week
- Pain that lessens, then returns
- Home treatments make it worse
- Severe pain
- A locked jaw
- Pain that interrupts your everyday activities
Professional Dental Treatment For TMJ
Your dentist can help you find relief from TMJ disorder. They may suggest a nightguard to keep you from grinding your teeth at night. In rare cases, they will advise surgery.
If you need relief from TMJ in Danville and the East Bay Area, call us at Pro Smile Dental Care. We can help you find a solution.