At Robert J. Mysse Family Dentistry, we want our patients to have healthy and cared-for teeth. We want to make sure that our patients have the tools to help their teeth be healthy and clean all year-round – not just after they visit us! These are different methods to help you deal with any TMJ symptoms. However, if you try a TMJ home treatment and it doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to call us at (512) 310-1500 to arrange an appointment to help you manage this pain.
What is TMJ?
For those who are unaware, TMJ refers to temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders. If you’re still unsure of what that means (as it isn’t an entirely helpful name) TMJ are a group of conditions that cause pain in the jaw joint as well as the muscles that control jaw movement. Sometimes this pain can be temporary, but sometimes it can be a serious problem. The solutions and prevention measures we’re providing should help eliminate temporary and/or occasional pain and help manage the longer lasting TMJ discomfort and pain. Causes of TMJ range from arthritis to improper bite to grinding teeth to trauma (jaw dislocation and injury) to stress and anxiety.
Symptoms of TMJ:
So you’re having pain in your jaw? Does that mean it’s a symptom of TMJ? Well, it might. The symptoms of TMJ are definitely centered around jaw pain, however the pain can spread into neck and face pain. Sometimes it’s not even pain at all, but muscle stiffness in the jaw. Or you may have difficulty opening or closing your mouth – maybe your jaw pops or clicks? Maybe your bite is uneven when it had not been before?
At Home TMJ Treatments
If you have already been diagnosed with TMJ, or are concerned that you may have it based on the above symptoms, there are solutions available to you. These solutions may only relieve your pain and discomfort for a short period of time if you have a serious TMJ problem.
- Apply an ice or heat pack to your jaw
Heat or ice applied to your jaw, is helpful for TMJ pain. It relaxes the muscles and makes it easier to open and closer your mouth. It also relieves any pain caused from tense muscles.
After applying an ice or heat pack to your jaw, it’d be opportune to lightly massage your jaw muscles. Move your fingers in a circular motion on your jaw. This will help relieve tension.
- Eat Soft Foods
Hard foods tense up the jaw while soft foods, like mashed potatoes, aren’t as harsh for the jaw muscles. This will help you relax your jaw and relieve pain.
- Jaw Stretches
There are several jaw stretches you can do daily to help you alleviate any TMJ related pain.
The first jaw stretch is fairly simple. Open your mouth as wide as you can, until you feel discomfort, while looking up with your eyes. Hold this position for a few seconds (5-10) and then slowly close your mouth. Next, move your lower jaw to the right and look to the left with your eyes. Hold and then return to the start. Now do the same thing except switch, move your lower jaw to the left and look to the right and hold. The last step of this stretch is to move your jaw forward, so that your bottom teeth move beyond your upper teeth. This stretch is hard to do if you have TMJ or if your jaw muscles are just too tight so do not be alarmed if you can’t manage it yet. Hold and then relax. Then repeat this stretching exercise two more times.
The second stretch requires you to press your tongue to the roof of your mouth and to keep it there while you slowly open your mouth as wide as you can. Hold this position for five seconds, right before it becomes uncomfortable, and then return to the start. Repeat two more times.
The third stretch is more of a resistance training exercise. Place your thumb underneath your jaw, specifically the center of your chin. Open your mouth slowly while placing pressure on your chin with your thumb. Hold and then return to starting position. Repeat two more times.
- Pain Reliever Pill
If the pain is intense or unbearable, a pain relieving pill, such as ibuprofen, may be the next option. If the pain is this bad, however, you need to book an appointment with us.
Call Us to Eliminate Your Pain
Reminder to call for an appointment. We can make a “stabilization splint or bite guard,” to wear at night if we diagnose you with a severe case of TMJ. Or we can teach you exercises to help you manage this disorder. We can also determine if a more drastic measure is needed. Call Robert J. Mysse Family Dentistry at (512) 310-1500 to arrange an appointment to help you manage and eliminate the TMJ pain.