Have you been experiencing headaches, earaches, or pain in the jaw? Are you having trouble chewing or notice a clicking sound when moving your jaw? These issues could stem from temporomandibular joint disorders, also known as TMJ.
Without treatment from your dentist, these problems can worsen, leading to further deterioration of the function of your jaw. Fortunately, they can help you relieve the tense muscles that cause these problems through several therapies. Read on to see how your dentist can resolve these uncomfortable symptoms associated with TMJ disorders.
Alleviate Chronic Jaw Pain with These Tips
Stress Management Techniques
TMJ often originates from tense muscles in the jaw that cause pain and tightness that will impact its function. These muscles can become tense for a few reasons, but a common source is bruxism, also known as chronic teeth grinding or clenching.
A number of factors can lead to teeth grinding behavior, though a major contributor is stress. If you feel stressed, you could be more likely to unconsciously grind your teeth together. This generates pressure that will hurt your teeth and your jaw.
To treat TMJ then, your dentist will address the root cause, including teeth grinding. One way they do this is to give you tips to reduce stress in your life. This advice can include deep breathing exercises or lifestyle changes.
They can also recommend stretches and exercises for your facial muscles. If you practice these as your dentist suggests, you can find that your muscles will loosen, and you will experience relief from TMJ symptoms.
For acute pain management related to TMJ, your dentist may recommend applying an ice pack to the affected area. You can also stick to eating soft-textured foods that will be easier to chew and allow your jaw to rest and recover.
Wearing a Custom-Made Oral Appliance
Bruxism often occurs without a patient’s awareness, such as when they sleep. If you grind your teeth during your sleep, your dentist may suggest that you wear a mouthguard overnight.
This custom-made oral appliance will fit comfortably and securely in your mouth so that it will not affect your sleep schedule. The individualized fit can boost compliance so that you are more likely to use the guard and experience the oral health benefits that come with it.
To build the nightguard, your dentist will take impressions of your teeth to construct a device that suits your unique smile. When it is ready, you will return to your dentist’s office to check how it fits before you take it home with you.
The nightguard can align your jaw into a position that helps the muscles relax while at rest. It can also cushion teeth and therefore your jaw from grinding or clenching that may occur in your sleep.
With this relief of pressure, you should also see improvement in the feeling and capability of your jaw. Schedule a consultation with your dentist to see if this appliance can help you improve your oral health.