Have you noticed pain in your jaw? Chronic jaw pain can be an early sign of temporomandibular joint disorders, also known as TMJ. This condition occurs when tension affects the muscles of the joint in your jaw. This can lead to soreness, difficulty performing oral functions, earaches, headaches, and more.
TMJ will not resolve on its own. Your dentist will need to intervene to relieve your symptoms. The type of treatment you will require will depend on the source of the jaw tension. Read on to learn more about three of the treatments your dentist might suggest to alleviate your TMJ discomfort.
How Can I Relieve TMJ Symptoms?
Reduce Stress Levels
When you feel stressed, you can collect tension throughout your body, including your jaw. This can tighten the muscles there and ultimately lead to TMJ. Your dentist can offer advice to reduce stress and therefore help these muscles to relax.
One way you can do this is through deep breathing exercises. Your dentist may also recommend facial stretches you can do that will loosen muscles in the jaw. When the muscles relax, you will notice less discomfort from TMJ.
Call your dentist for an evaluation to learn if these activities can help you. If your TMJ stems from other sources, you may need alternative treatments.
Wear a Night Guard
If you tend to grind or clench your teeth, you might not always be aware that you have this habit. It often manifests during sleep, so you might not be able to cease this behavior on your own. If you continue to grind your teeth, the pressure this action generates can lead to TMJ.
Your dentist can construct a custom-made night guard for you to wear overnight. This oral appliance will cushion your teeth against unconscious teeth grinding, preventing tension from extending to your jaw and leaving lasting damage.
The device will also keep your jaw aligned in a position of rest as you sleep. This way, the jaw will not garner extra tension by remaining in an uncomfortable alignment.
Amend Bite Problems
Tension in the jaw can also accrue due to crooked or otherwise misaligned teeth or jaw. If your mouth does not close properly when you bite down, you can experience an uneven distribution of pressure on the jaw and teeth. This may leave you with TMJ.
Your dentist can straighten your teeth or realign your jaw with cosmetic dental solutions or orthodontics. Minor alignment concerns in the teeth can be straightened with Invisalign. These plastic aligners are worn for most of the day to gradually shift teeth into an enhanced position.
More severe malocclusions might need braces or other orthodontic treatments. These will attach to the teeth and also give you a straighter and more even smile, including in the jaw.
When your bite can close without issue, you can stop creating tension from bite problems. Then you can alleviate pain and other issues associated with TMJ.