If you have TMJ syndrome, you know that pain that comes with it. TMJ pain makes it difficult to sleep, eat and enjoy life. If your mouth and jaw frequently experience pain, and you find yourself popping more pain medication than you prefer, read on for some tips from the Yuba City dentists at Yuba City Dentistry Group.
Why TMJ Syndrome is a Pain
If your jaw joints are working properly, it doesn’t take any thinking to bite down, chew or speak. But what if there’s a problem and your temporomandibular joints are not working as they should? In that case, inflammation and pain make talking and eating especially difficult. Pain like this may start as a small annoyance, but eventually it requires some lifestyle changes and a visit to our dentists to experience more permanent relief.
What Causes TMJ Syndrome?
TMJ syndrome is most often cased by the following:
- Stress and teeth grinding (bruxism),
- Misaligned teeth or arches,
- Arthritis in the temporomandibular joint,
- Injury or trauma to the mouth or jaw.
A diagnosis and examination at Yuba City Dentistry Group is the best way to start relieving the pain caused by TMJ. At the initial consultation, our Yuba City dentists do a complete oral examination to check for pain, swelling, tenderness and the most commonly known symptom — popping or clicking in the jaw. Of course, this is followed up with a good set of x-rays to have a clear picture of how the joints are interacting in their respective sockets.
Relieve TMJ Problems
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research recommends trying at home treatment before contemplating more aggressive therapy, like oral surgery. Therefore, we too can apply the “less is often best” approach whenever it is warranted. To relieve TMJ syndrome pain, try these suggestions:
- Stop chewing gum or your finger nails;
- Take over the counter (OTC) pain relievers as needed for pain;
- Eat more soft foods, while avoiding hard, sticky (like taffy) and crunchy ones;
- Use ice packs as needed to control pain and swelling;
- Avoid too much yawning;
- Reduce the stress in your daily life.
The “reduce stress” part is certainly “easier said than done,” but it makes a huge difference in how you feel with TMJ problems. And yes, we understand that telling you “not to yawn” falls under the same category. One thing, however, helps you accomplish both of these suggestions: get plenty of rest to reduce stress and excessive yawning.
The Pain Still Doesn’t Go Away
For pain and discomfort from TMJ syndrome that doesn’t go away, despite trying these suggestions, we recommend a combination of treatment techniques that might include:
- Exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles;
- Prescription medications to reduce pain and anxiety;
- A custom nightguard to relieve jaw tension and pain.
In extreme cases, our dentists recommend further treatment, like the use of orthodontics to align teeth properly, or even oral surgery to correct damage due to trauma or genetic imperfections. The main goal of our entire dental staff is to have happy, satisfied and pain-free patients! Don’t suffer with TMJ syndrome! Talk to us today to schedule your own TMJ consultation.