TMJ: How it Might Be Affecting You, And How to Find Relief

If you experience pain in your jaw or face, it can be excruciating and uncomfortable. The condition can worsen when you don’t know what exactly is causing it. For many people, the pain can be related to the temporomandibular joint. It’s like the hinge joint connecting the upper and lower jaw bones. Dentist in Watrous says if the jaw’s not working properly, it can mean that you are having symptoms of TMJ.

Symptoms of TMJ

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be dealing with TMJ:

  • Pain or tenderness in your jaw joint
  • Toothache
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Pain in neck and shoulders
  • Tired feeling or pain in your face
  • Swelling on the side of your face
  • Pain around your ear
  • Pain while chewing
  • Hearing problems
  • Locked jaw which makes it difficult to open or close your mouth
  • Clicking or grating sensation when opening and closing your mouth

Risk factors and causes

  • Poor posture
  • Arthritic damage in joint cartilage
  • Disc erosion in the jaw
  • A jaw injury like whiplash or a heavy blow
  • Grinding or clenching teeth
  • Stress and anxiety that causes you to tighten facial jaw and muscles
  • Orthodontic braces
  • Excessive use of chewing gum
  • Connective tissue disease that affects your TMJ

Diagnosing temporomandibular joint disorder

One of the first people to notice and diagnose a TMJ is usually a dentist in Saskatoon. However, a family physician, an ENT, or oral surgeon can also diagnose and treat TMJ. They will check your jaw joints for pain and tenderness and go for further testing like x-rays, CAT scan and MRI.

Treatment options for TMJ

TMJ has many treatment options and the first line of treatment begins at home:

At-Home Treatments:

  • Eat soft foods
  • Take an OTC anti-inflammatory medication
  • Practice good posture
  • Avoid unnecessary jaw movements
  • Position your haw with teeth slightly apart as often as possible
  • Place moist heat or cold packs on jaw
  • Massage your neck and jaw muscles

Medical treatment:

  • Medications such as pain relievers
  • Oral splints or mouth guards
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgical options