TMJ: What it is & How to treat it

Temporomandibular Joint Disorders, commonly known as TMJ or TMD, affects the hinge in your jaw that dentist treating TMJconnects it to the temporal bones in your skull. This joint allows you to move your jaw so that you can talk, chew, yawn, etc. Injury to your jaw, the joint specifically, or in your head and neck muscles can lead to the development of TMD. Some common symptoms of TMD include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw, face, neck, and shoulders as well as around the ear when speaking, chewing, or opening your mouth.
  • Problems when you try to open your mouth wide or your jaw getting “stuck” or “locked” in an open/closed position.
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds during chewing or when your mouth opens or closes.
  • Trouble chewing or a sudden uncomfortable bite.
  • A tired feeling in your face or swelling in one side.

There are a number of different causes of TMJ, such as grinding or clenching your teeth, arthritis, and even stress. Once diagnosed with the disorder, there are a variety of different treatments including both professional and DIY remedies. Taking an over the counter NSAID such as naproxen or ibuprofen can help reduce pain and swelling, or you can look to a more medical strength prescription for severe pain and muscle relaxers if you tend to clench or grind your teeth. Along the same lines, you can invest in a professional or over-the-counter night guard to keep your top and bottom teeth separate and your jaw in the correct position while you sleep. Other treatments can involve surgeries performed by dentists in Brooklyn or simple tricks to do at home such as the use of heat/cold packs, eating softer foods, and learning some relaxation techniques.

Though TMJ is not life-threatening, it can be extremely uncomfortable and normal jaw functions can be debilitated. If you’re uncertain on if you are experiencing TMJ symptoms, contact one of our dentists in Brooklyn, NY to schedule an appointment today.