How You Can Treat Your TMJ Troubles
Your jaw hurts when you wake up.
Your jaw hurts when you eat.
Your jaw hurts when you have to talk for a long time.
Our dentist office in Orlando, FL, offers treatments for TMJ disorders, and we would be happy to help you or someone you know end your pain and suffering.
Learn The Symptoms Of TMJ Problems
To better understand the symptoms of a TMJ disorder, it’s helpful to know what the TMJ is.
TMJ is short for temporomandibular joint. You actually have two of these joints — one on each side of your face. They are ball-and-socket joints where your lower jaw (the mandible) connects to your upper jaw.
This joint is what allows you to open and close your mouth to eat or to speak, both of which are important in our daily lives. To find these joints, simply place a finger or two below your ears. Then open and close your mouth. You should be able to feel where the joint is moving.
Once you’ve located these joints, many of symptoms of TMJ disorders will make more sense. Here are some of the most common symptoms:
￭ Jaw pain, particularly in the morning or after eating
￭ Jaw movement problems
￭ Jaw stiffness
￭ Facial pains
￭ Neck, upper back, or shoulder pain
TMJ disorders can affect the joint itself or the muscles and other tissues around these joints.
How You Can Treat TMJ Troubles
It’s pretty common for people to experience TMJ problems from time to time. Your bigger concern should be when your problems become so common or so severe that you develop a TMJ disorder.
While you are deciding whether you should contact our dentist office in Orlando, FL, you may want to try some of these steps first.
Take a pain reliever. Everyone gets headaches and other pains sometimes. If the pain is minor, an over-the-counter pain reliever such as aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, or naproxen may help.
If you find you are turning to pain relievers every single day, however, that’s a sign that this may be a chronic issue rather than an occasional one.
Apply heat. If you are having trouble moving your jaw, applying moist heat can help. This can loosen the muscles around your jaw, which may alleviate some pain as well.
Apply ice or a cold pack. If swelling is part of your problem, applying something cold can reduce the swelling. This also can ease pain by numbing the area in question.
Eat softer foods. Biting and chewing something like an apple or a steak can require more effort on your part. By comparison, eating softer foods such as eggs or mashed potatoes or even soup for a few days may be enough to allow your jaw to heal so you can eat whatever you want again.
Find ways to relax. Stress can play a role in TMJ problems. Specifically, stress can increase your likelihood of grinding or clenching your teeth.
Millions of people are unaware that they are doing this because this happens in their sleep. This can explain why you may experience some symptoms more frequently in the morning.
Teeth grinding is bad for you for multiple reasons. Teeth grinding can wear down them enamel on your teeth, which can create an oral health issue. It also can put a significant amount of pressure on your jaw joint and the surrounding tissues.
Treating TMJ By Treating Teeth Grinding
Our dentists have helped many patients in and around Orlando, FL, with their teeth grinding. By doing so, they have alleviated those patients’ TMJ symptoms in many cases, too.
If we see signs of teeth grinding, we can create a custom-fitted mouthpiece for you to wear while you sleep. Now, you may need a little time to adjust to sleep with a nightguard in your mouth, but it has helped many people.
The nightguard prevents grinding. By placing a physical barrier between your top and bottom rows of teeth, you can’t grind them together. As you get used to sleeping with the nightguard, your jaw can relax and alleviate the tension that comes with teeth grinding, too.