For many people, the joint that connects the upper and lower jawbones (also known as the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ) is a constant source of pain and discomfort. TMJ disorders can happen for a variety of reasons, but no matter what the cause, your primary concern should be to find relief as soon as possible so that you can move on with your life without having to deal with the pain on a daily basis. It’s important to understand the risk factors for jaw pain as well as the different kinds of relief that are available – both at home and at the dentist’s office. Are you in need of TMJ therapy in Natick? Read on to learn about your options.
What Increases the Risk for TMJ Disorders?
First of all, it’s important to understand what is likely to contribute to a TMJ disorder so that you can seek treatments that address the problem at its source. There are often multiple factors involved in TMJ pain, and sometimes the exact cause isn’t identified. That said, TMJ disorder is more likely to occur if:
- The joint cartilage is suffering from arthritis.
- The disc in the joint has started to erode.
- You’ve suffered a severe injury to the jaw.
- You frequently grind or clench your teeth (which often happens under stress).
- You have poor posture.
- You chew gum far too often.
- You are suffering from a connective tissue disease.
Your dentist can recognize the warning signs of a TMJ disorder and provide you with a proper diagnosis following an examination.
At-Home Treatment Options
Professional care is a must for overcoming a TMJ disorder, but practicing good self-care at home can go a long way towards finding relief. Some basic steps you can take to relieve your jaw pain include:
- Eating soft and non-chewy foods. Stay away from anything crunchy. You should also be wary of thick sandwiches and anything else that requires you to take wide bites.
- Practicing good posture. Try to break bad habits like resting your chin on your hand.
- Using over-the-counter medication and cold packs to soothe the pain in your jaw.
- Taking the time to massage your neck and jaw muscles.
- Learning relaxation techniques that help loosen the jaw.
Your dentist can provide an oral splint that repositions the jaw and holds it in a comfortable position. This simple device will also protect your teeth from the clenching and grinding that can put stress on the jaw joints. Depending on the nature and severity of the disorder, you might need to seek other solutions, such as surgery.
As soon as you have reason to think you might have a TMJ disorder, you should do what you can to take care of yourself at home while also seeking professional care from your dentist. If you’re proactive, relief will come all the sooner.
About Papageorgiou Dental Associates
At Papageorgiou Dental Associates, our talented dentists and the rest of our friendly associates help Natick families take care of their smiles with comprehensive, gentle dental care. We offer a variety of services, including TMJ therapy for those suffering from constant jaw pain. To schedule an appointment, visit our website or call (508) 545-1126.