The temporomandibular joint or TMJ hinges your skull to your jaw and is responsible for an individual's ability to speak, chew, bite, and yawn. However, some activities can cause too much stress and strain on the jaw, causing temporomandibular disorders (TMD). In this case, you need a dentist to check your TMJ in Whittier to know the exact cause of the problem and to properly address it.
Unfortunately, sometimes you'll find yourself enduring some jaw pain in the middle of the night when your dentist's office has not yet opened for the day. While you can't fix TMD, there are various treatments you can do at home to improve the situation, such as avoiding aggravating activities, managing your stress, and finding ways to relax your facial muscles.
The first thing you can do to mitigate TMD at home is to take an over-the-counter medication. These medications are designed to aid in treating soreness and pain associated with TMD.
There are different over-the-counter medications primarily used to treat facial pain and pain in the jaw joint. These are generally safe and effective for short-term use.
Another way you can address TMD at home is by using heat or cold therapy. Heat relaxes the facial muscles, reduces pain, and eases muscle tension. Cold is said to reduce pain, increase relaxation, and decrease muscle strain. You can apply heat or cold to your face by using a heating or cooling pad, or you can use a device that applies heat or cold directly to your face.
Eating soft foods is another way to address TMD at home. It is generally recommended that you eat soft foods such as bread, pudding, and Jell-O instead of harder foods such as meat, which can cause more pain and swelling. Soft foods are less likely to aggravate TMD problems and are easy to chew.
However, you may require additional help to incorporate soft foods into your diet. For example, you may need to get professional advice on which foods you should eat. Sometimes, you may need to visit your dentist or oral surgeon to receive the proper guidance and assistance in eating soft foods.
Extreme jaw movements, like chewing extremely hard or excessively, can cause more pain and swelling in your face. You may need to see your dentist or oral surgeon to receive advice and assistance in reducing the number of movements in your jaw. Your dentist may advise you to wear a night guard to help with this.
Generally, be sure to limit the amount of time you spend with activities that require the use of your mouth.
Relaxation techniques can help you to reduce stress and prevent facial muscle tension. You can use at-home techniques like yoga exercises, meditation, and deep breathing. You can find many websites that can help you learn more about relaxation techniques and various devices and equipment you can use to help you with stress and anxiety at home.
Many Americans experience TMJ disorders every year, and many of them don't know how to deal with these disorders. Knowing how to take care of your temporomandibular joints and your dental health, in general, keeps you a few steps forward in ensuring you enjoy a happier life.
If you have problems with your TMJ and you need help with it, feel free to call us at Cataloochee Dental Group today.