You’ve been putting up with your jaw pain for a while now, and you’re relatively sure that you’re suffering from TMJ/TMD disorder. However, you haven’t yet sought treatment because you’re hoping that the pain will go away on its own. Is that a realistic expectation? Let’s talk about whether it is possible to simply wait out your TMJ problems.
Understanding TMJ Disorder
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a complex network of bones, muscles, tendons, and other tissues. If even one part of it is not functioning properly, it can cause a cascade of ill effects, including jaw pain, headaches, neck pain, hearing problems, and a range of other symptoms. The disorder and its symptoms are highly unlikely to go away on their own unless something happens to address the cause of the problem.
Do Home Remedies Work?
Many individuals are able to find relief via home remedies. Here are a few ideas that you may find helpful:
- Oftentimes, a stressful lifestyle leads to muscle tension, which in turn causes is jaw pain. A vacation, a change in circumstances, or other stress-mitigating factors might ease TMJ disorder.
- Ice packs and anti-inflammatory medications may help to relieve TMJ disorder symptoms.
- Resting the jaw helps some people. You might stop chewing gum and temporarily avoid foods that take a lot of chewing power, such as raw vegetables or sticky candies.
Keep in mind that even though home remedies may offer some relief, that doesn’t mean you should not seek help from a professional. The above suggestions are often most beneficial when they are combined with treatment from a dental professional who understands the ins and outs of the TMJ and the issues that can affect it.
Seeking Professional Help
Dentists and oral surgeons with specialized training are often the most qualified to treat TMJ disorder because they have such an in-depth knowledge of the TMJ and the surrounding structures. When you visit such a TMJ expert, they’ll take X-rays of the jaw, talk to you about your symptoms, and design a custom treatment plan. They may prescribe:
- Stretches to relax the facial muscles
- A mouthpiece to prevent teeth grinding at night and thereby relax the jaw
- A slight bite adjustment to help your teeth fit together better (a misaligned bite is a common cause of TMJ disorder).
- Surgery to correct structural defects in the jaw. (This is necessary only in rare cases.)
Most patients who seek TMJ/TMD therapy from a qualified professional find relief after a few weeks or months of treatment. Then, they can go about their daily lives with confidence that their symptoms will not recur.
Are you sick of putting up with TMJ disorder? Don’t wait for the problem to go away on its own. Consult with an expert who can get you on the road to recovery ASAP.
Dr. Keith Hollinger is a dentist with decades of experience in his field. He has undergone specialized training that makes him highly qualified to address TMJ disorder. If you would like to find out how he may be able to help you find relief from your jaw pain, contact his office today at 860-430-5687.