If you or anyone you know has been having sleepless nights as a result of chronic jaw pain, it could be that they are suffering from Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) disorder. Symptoms include difficulty chewing foods without discomfort, increased headaches and the inability to move the mouth freely.
Methods for relieving pain
As a person searches for methods to help in the relief of symptoms related to TMJ, the focus should be on the methods that not only provide immediate relief but ones that address the root cause of the disorder. Here are some helpful strategies to relieve and prevent reoccurrence of TMJ.
These methods include the following:
One good thing about the medications for relieving pain related to TMJ is that they are mostly over-the-counter medicines that someone can get at a pharmacy or grocery store. These medications include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen. They work by relieving the muscle pains caused by TMJ.
Typically the TMJ joint pain is worse when a person has trouble moving air thru their nose. Mouth breathing makes the TMJ muscles work harder and therefore hurt more. A allergy medicine that helps open the nose so that you can move air thru the nose rather than the mouth, keeps the TMJ muscles from working as hard. An antihistamine allergy medicine, or a nasal air spray can help to some degree.
Also referred to as splints, mouthguards are custom-designed to fit over the teeth and prevent close contact between the lower and upper teeth. Being that it hinders teeth grinding, it relieves the jaw muscles and joints from the stress of grinding. A mouthguard that provides the perfect fit as well as protection, will aid greatly in the healing process of TMJ.
Cold and Hot Pack Therapy
This strategy has been confirmed to aid in relief from TMJ pains. Place a cold pack (ice in a baggie wrapped with a face cloth) over the effected joint for ten minutes and then replace it with a hot pack (a facecloth that has been heated with hot water from your sink and placed in a sandwich baggie wrapped with another face cloth) over the joint again for ten minutes. Repeat at least two to three times. It works by relaxing tight muscles and as a result, reduces spasms. The coldness will help relieve the feeling of pain or pressure for a short time and is a great temporary relief aid.
Minimize chewy foods
Don’t forget that the healing process includes working towards relieving the jaw from stress. Staying away from chewy foods will do a lot of good because it doesn't require the jaw to work as hard to break down the food. Sticky foods will only require that more work is done to chew the food, and during the healing process, this is not advised to do. It has been noticed that each time gum or candies are chewed, flare-ups typically occur. Keep gum chewing to a minimum or completely eliminate it until the jaw completely heals.
Although these 5 strategies can bring about some degree of relief from TMJ pains, it does not take the place of the professional dental help that one may need. Always keep to regular appointments with the dentist.
If you still have concerns or questions, give us a call today. Our trained staff will assist you in the healing process.
Request an appointment here: https://www.sheltondentistry.com or call Robert B. Shelton, DDS MAGD at (903) 486-3223 for an appointment in our Longview office.
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