MJ disorders, officially known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction, have several causes, but the result is the same in every case: pain.
Sufferers may experience:
Pain in the jaw
Aching around and in the ear
Pain or discomfort while chewing
Soreness in various spots on the face and neck
Locking jaw, making it difficult to open your mouth
Clicking sounds when you open your mouth
What Causes TMJ
One of the most common causes of jaw pain occurs when the teeth aren’t aligned correctly, resulting in a bad bite. The muscles in the jaws have difficulty getting the teeth to fit properly when you chew. The result is sore muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerves. Other causes include arthritis in the jaw or an accident that causes lingering injury to the jaw area.
Stress is also an all-too-common factor. Studies have shown a direct correlation between difficulty handling work and home situations and TMJ. Stress can lead to clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth, especially when you sleep. The constant pressure on your mouth and jaw results in symptoms of TMJ.
Reduce the Pain
During periods when your jaws are sore, you are getting headaches and it is uncomfortable to swallow, there are several things you can do to lessen the pain.
#1. Soft foods: One of the quickest soothers is switching to soft, easy-to-swallow foods that you don’t need to chew. This helps give the jaw a rest. Smoothies are an excellent way to get healthy protein and carbs into your diet during painful periods. Yogurt, cooked oatmeal and soups are simple to fix and require little if any chewing. Avoid raw vegetables and sandwiches so big you need to open wide to take a bite.
#2. Pain relievers: Simple pain medication from the drug store can make a big difference. Try ibuprofen, naproxen or acetaminophen to help reduce swelling and lessen pain. Be sure to check with your doctor or dentist to make the best choice in the right amounts for you.
#3. Baby your jaw: Be careful how you physically treat the entire jaw area and your neck, shoulders and spine. Simple changes can help a lot. Be careful not to open your mouth too wide when you yawn. Don’t rest your chin on your hand. Try to maintain good posture, especially if you sit in front of a computer for long periods. Stretch gently several times a day.
#4. Hot and cold: Experiment with ice packs or heat packs. Most people have a preference. Both are cheap and quick remedies for immediate pain. Make a heat pack by pouring rice into an old, clean sock, then microwaving it for 30 seconds. For an ice pack, wrap ice cubes in several layers of towels.
#5. Talk to Tsar Dental in West Palm Beach: If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw, ask about getting a night guard. If your home remedies aren’t reducing the pain enough, ask about prescription medication like muscle relaxants or pain relievers that are stronger than what you can buy over the counter.