5 Ways to Manage Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

5 Ways to Manage Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Jan 01, 2023

What Is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

It is a condition affecting the jawbone and surrounding areas. Its acronym is TMD. The disorder affects the connective joint linking the jawbone to the skull.

What Causes TMD?

Various factors can affect your jaw health and abuse TMD. The common causes of TMD are:

  1. Bruxism – is excessive teeth grinding, usually at night when you sleep. It places unnecessary pressure on your jaw and teeth, which may cause dental pain in your jawbone.
  2. Dental trauma – a traumatic injury around your face does not only cause bone fractures. Instead, you can suffer TMD after a dental-related injury.
  3. Arthritis in the joint
  4. Clenching your teeth when stressed, anxious, or depressed.
  5. Sinuses problems
  6. Failed dental work – if you’ve had a dental filling or a tooth implant, they can cause jaw pain if they fail or were done wrong.

How to Know You Have TMD

Many patients do not know about TMD until they visit their dentists. The reason is that the condition can mimic many other dental issues. Some of the symptoms of TMD are:

  1. Pain or tenderness in your face
  2. Migraine headaches
  3. Jaw lock – difficulty closing your mouth, so it gets stuck in the open-mouth position. It is common after yawning or laughing loudly.
  4. Popping, clicking, or grating sounds in your jaw when you move your mouth.
  5. Ear pain, hearing problems, and tinnitus.
  6. Swelling on the affected side of the mouth
  7. Tooth pain – the discomfort emanates from the joint and spreads to part of your mouth. Therefore, it may feel like you have a toothache.

How Do You Treat Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?

If you are wondering how you can treat the temporomandibular joint disorder, visit our offices at Warm Family Dentistry. Never treat dental issues alone when you can access professional help from a dentist near you. The problem is that you cannot correctly treat yourself unless you have an accurate diagnosis for your problem. In many cases, tooth decay and gum disease can feel the same as TMD. Only after diagnosis can you begin the proper treatment for TMD, including the following:

  1. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs – alleviate swelling and pain. A good example of such a drug is ibuprofen.
  2. Oral appliances – your dentist can customize an oral appliance for night usage. The appliance is called a night guard to help treat bruxism.
  3. Redoing dental work – your dentist may have to redo initial treatments like dental fillings or implants.
  4. Replacing lost teeth – sometimes, losing teeth places unnecessary pressure on your jaw due to unevenness. Placing dentures, getting dental bridges, or dental implants can restore your evenness and overcome jaw pain.
  5. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) therapy – is a low-level electrical treatment that helps relax your jaw muscles to alleviate pain.
  6. Surgery – sometimes dentists may have to result in surgery to treat TMD. It is especially the case after dental trauma that displaces the disc between the ball and socket of the temporomandibular joint. However, dentists recommend surgery as the last option, usually after other treatment options have failed.

Tips for Managing TMD at Home

When you have TMD, you should be more intentional about dental care at home, even after TMD treatment. Some tips for Managing TMD are:

  1. Eat soft foods only – it avoids placing pressure on your jaw trying to chew hard and crunchy foods. If you must eat hard foods like apples and carrots, break them into small pieces to reduce straining your bite and hurting your jaw.
  2. Cold compress – wrap an ice pack in a clean cloth and place it against your cheek on the affected side. The cold will alleviate pain and reduce swelling.
  3. Maintain the resting position of your jaw – the more you move your jaw, the more likely you are to worsen the matter.
  4. Change your sleeping posture – ensure you are not placing weight on the affected side of your jaw when you sleep. You may need to sleep on your back for a while until your jaw gets better.
  5. Quit bad oral habits – like biting fingernails, chewing gum, or chewing hard non-food items are bad for your teeth and jaw.
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