The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) refers to a hinge that joins the temporal bones of the skull (in front of the ears) to the jaw. It allows you to freely move your jaw in order to talk, yawn, and chew. Certain issues with the jaw and facial muscles that work to control it are typically called 'TMJ'.
Common Causes of TMJ
The exact cause of TMJ is unknown. Many dentists think that the symptoms emerge due to various problems with the jaw's muscles or with the joint itself.
In many cases, injury to the jaw or joint, or the head and/or neck muscles can cause TMJ, like from an intense blow to the head or whiplash. Other common causes may include the following:
· Grinding or clenching teeth that puts a great deal of pressure on the overall joint
· Arthritis in the targeted joint
· Movement of the disc or soft cushion between the joint's ball and socket
· Stress, which may lead to tightened facial/jaw muscles or clenching your teeth
Ways to Ease TMJ Pain
Apply heat and ice. Probably the quickest, cheapest, and most popular way to relieve your jaw pain is to simply apply heat and ice. Most TMJ patients have a strong preference for either one when it comes to what works best for them - experiment to see which one works better for you.
Seek therapy. Seek therapeutic treatment for TMJ from Paramount Dentistry. Receiving ongoing treatment for TMJ can help in preventing it from getting worse and sometimes even prevent it from occurring in the first place. Most dentists handle each case of TMJ on an individual basis.
Address bruxism (grinding or clenching teeth). If you tend to grind or clench your teeth, your jaw and muscles will get a much needed rest if you can stop these bad habits. Try to set a timer to catch yourself throughout the day in order to determine if you're actually clenching or grinding your teeth. After enough intervention, you naturally stop and get used to not doing it at all.
Modify your diet. Eating a variety of softer foods will help relieve the pain of TMJ and can also help with the overall swelling as well. Avoid eating thick sandwiches, raw vegetables, and chewing gum; instead, considering eating softer foods like soups, yogurt, oatmeal, and smoothies. Keep a good juicer or blender on hand to make everything much simpler to prepare.
There a number of things you can try to ease the pain of TMJ. If you must, see a dentist who specializes in TMJ. They may suggest a variety of simple exercises or recommend that you use a special TMJ mouth guard in order help your TMJ issues.
By Meghan Belnap
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