Everything You Should Know About TMJ Therapy

What Is A TMJ Disorder Or TMD?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a sliding hinge that connects your jawbone to the temporal bones of your skull. It lets you move your jaw up and down, side to side, which helps you talk, chew, and yawn. Problems and pain in your jaw joint and the muscles that control your face are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). 

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

The exact cause of a person’s TMJ disorder is difficult to determine. Different factors might cause pain such as genetics, arthritis, or jaw injury. The following can be a cause of TMD:

  • Grinding or clenching teeth can put a lot of pressure on the joint. 
  • If the joint is damaged due to a heavy blow or whiplash.
  • Stress can cause tightening of facial and jaw muscles.

What Are The Signs You Need TMJ Therapy?

TMD can cause severe pain and discomfort, which may be temporary or last for many years. The most common age group is the people between 20 to 40. The symptoms of TMJ disorder include:

  • Tenderness or pain in your face, jaw, neck, or shoulders.
  • Pain in either of the temporomandibular joints.
  • Lock or stuck jaws, making it difficult to open or close your mouth
  • Swelling on the side of your face
  • Clicking sound or grating sensation when you chew, open, or close your mouth.
  • A tired feeling in your face or aching facial Pain
  • You may also get toothaches, headaches, neck aches, dizziness, hearing problems, ringing in the ears, earaches, etc.

TMJ Treatment

Biofeedback 

Biofeedback helps with TMJ functioning by assisting patients to improve muscle relaxation skills. This will reduce muscle tightness which may reduce or eliminate the pain.

Stretching

Stretching exercises will improve your flexibility and physical function. Stretching exercises like opening your mouth wide and holding it for 5 to 10 seconds. You can also place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth or bring your lower jaw out as far as it will go and then back in.

Physical Therapy For TMJ 

Physical therapy helps restores muscle strength and function through exercise. It can help you take care of your jaw pain. Your PT can help determine the cause of your pain and improve the way your jaw moves.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is a traditional form of Chinese medicine where the insertion of needles into specific points on the body can help relieve pain and treat other conditions. Often TMD is caused due to underlying stress, which affects muscles in the jaw. Acupuncture can help you relieve your stress, pain, and inflammation, which will relax the muscles of the face and jaw. 

However, it is always important to consult a dentist before getting TMJ therapy in Orange Park, FL.  

Home Treatments For TMJ

There are home remedies you can do to help relieve pain in your jaw because of TMD. Following are a few suggestions:

  • Use moist heat or cold packs on the side of your face for about 10 minutes.
  • Eat soft foods like mashed potatoes, soup, yogurt, scrambled eggs, fish, beans, and grains. You can cut foods into small pieces so you chew less.
  • Avoid hard, crunchy foods, or bites that can cause you to open wide.
  • Avoid extreme jaw movements like yawning, yelling, singing, etc. 
  • Try to practice good posture to reduce facial and neck pain.

Other Treatments 

There are other traditional treatments such as Medications our TMJ specialist can prescribe if you need them for pain and swelling. Dr. Andrew Brown might suggest a muscle relaxer, aspirin, or biofeedback to help relax your jaw if you grind or clench your teeth. He can also create a splint or night guard that will fit over your upper and lower teeth so they don’t touch. This will reduce the effects of clenching or grinding and correct your bite. If your condition involves improperly aligned joints or dislocated jaws, TMJ surgery will be required to correct the condition.