A temporomandibular joint disorder is usually painful, annoying, and debilitating. Remarkably, Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) is a condition affecting a significant percentage of the American population.
Depending on your case, you may experience relatively mild symptoms that may improve or disappear within a couple of weeks or months. If the symptoms do not fade, book an appointment in a dental office that offers TMJ dental services. It would be best to consider Weymouth Dental Associates since they provide TMJ treatment professionally.
What are the symptoms to watch out for?
- Pain when eating
- Ringing ears
- Itching behind the eyes
- Pain in the face, neck, shoulder, or back
- Jaw soreness
- The popping of the jaw
- Increased teeth sensitivity
- Limited mouth motion
Diagnosis and treatment
TMJ treatment has both home remedies and clinical remedies. TMD in a good proportion of people disappears rapidly by adhering to simple self-care practices. However, before deploying home-based solutions, ensure you first visit the dentist for a diagnosis. If the dentist is not convinced, they may request face x-rays and other tests like CT scan and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
The dentist rules out other conditions with similar signs and symptoms and recommends some solutions to try at home. The National Institute of Health strongly suggests the use of more conservative and reversible treatments regarding TMJ. Some common home remedies include;
- Eat soft foods. If you are diagnosed with TMD, it’s advisable to start taking soft foods such as soup, fruit salad, yogurt, mashed potatoes, fish, and cheese. Additionally, you can cut food into small pieces to ensure minimal chewing.
- Eating soft foods goes hand in hand with avoiding crunchy foods such as carrots, biscuits, caramels, and pretzels. It’s also helpful if you avoid foods that require large bites, such as burgers.
- Use cold packs or moist heat packs. First, add ice cubes in a polythene bag and wrap them in a soft cloth. Temple the affected area with the cold pack for approximately 15 minutes, then do several jaw stretches. Wrap a hot water bottle with a moist cloth and hold it on the affected region for about 10 minutes. Repeat the process several times each day.
- Take medications. You can swallow some Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen to reduce swelling and relieve muscle pain.
- Use relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques usually help to loosen your jaws. They include massage or physical therapy. You may also try stress reduction therapy.
- Avoid straining your jaws. Strive to avoid any activity that may strain your jaws, such as chewing (particularly gum), yawning, yelling, or singing.
If the home remedies do not yield substantial results, your dentist may prescribe some clinical treatment options. Some medical treatment options include:
- Using a mouth guard or a splint. Since TMD may be caused by conditions such as bruxism, a night guard fits in between the teeth to prevent teeth grinding/clenching. It also corrects your bite. While a nightguard is put on at night, a splint is worn all the time.
- Ultrasound. The dentist may apply deep heat to the TMJ joint to relieve the soreness and increase mobility.
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS). It is a therapy that utilizes low-level electrical nerves to offer pain relief via relaxing your facial muscles and TMJ.
- Radio wave therapy. Radio waves trigger the joint, which increases the blood flow, thus easing pain.
- Trigger-point injections. Pain medication is injected into the facial muscles for relief. It’s a good option, especially when the pain is intense.
- Low-level laser therapy. The therapy lowers inflammation and reduces pain. It also increases the mobility of your neck and improves the bite-size.
- Surgery. Surgery is a very invasive procedure, and thus it’s usually the last result for TMD. There are three types of TMD surgery types, including arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, and open-joint surgery.
If you notice any symptoms of TMD, visit your dentist for proper diagnosis and treatment. Your dentist will consider some factors such as your age, medical history, overall health, your preference, and your body’s responsiveness to specific therapies, medications, and procedures. Lastly, the dentist may recommend several treatment options at a go.