Temporomandibular joint syndrome arises from problems relating to the muscles and bones of the face that allow us to chew, as well as articulate our jaw motions. The temporomandibular joint can be found by placing your fingers right in front of your ears while opening and closing your mouth. Osteoarthritis, trauma, teeth grinding (bruxism), and stress are common causes. There’s no one cause, but the most common symptom is pain in the jaw.
Treating TMJ at Home
You can address your TMJ at home, although you need to visit your dentist first to get the scoop on specific implementations of the following tips. You’re an individual, and a dentist near you can tailor a treatment plan just for you.
6 At-home Treatments for TMJ Disorders
- Do jaw exercises. Your dentist or physical therapist can teach you exercises you can do at home that will stretch your jaw and strengthen your jaw muscles.
- Limit extreme jaw movements. Even yawning can aggravate TMJ, so take it easy! Limit yelling, too. Any movement that causes exaggerated jaw movements is trouble.
- Use heat or cold therapy. Placing warm, dampened cloths or packs on your jaw relaxes your face muscles and jaw. An ice pack can reduce any swelling. It’s important to consult with your dentist to find out how long you can leave to packs on, as well as how to properly place them.
- Choose the right foods. Hard foods and chewy foods aggravate TMJ and can cause painful flare-ups. Try to eat soft foods when experiencing pain or discomfort. If you do eat hard foods, take small bites and chew them carefully. Sticky foods, especially chewing gum, can cause TMJ to worsen.
- Wear a bite guard. A stabilization splint, also called a bite guard, helps prevent you from clenching or grinding your teeth. Made of comfortable plastic, they fit over your upper and lower teeth, thus preventing your teeth from touching. They cum in a variety of types, including firm and soft. Bite guards should only be used temporarily.
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