The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is a crucial joint that connects your jaw to the skull. It controls your ability to move your jaw, thus allowing you to talk, yawn, and chew. Disorders associated with the TMJ are known as temporomandibular disorders or TMD for short. TMDs make certain jaw functions such as talking and eating difficult, painful, or even impossible.
You’ll know there’s a problem with your TMJ is any of the following applies to you:
- You feel incredible pain in your jaw, neck, shoulders and your face when eating or whenever you open your mouth
- You can’t seem to open your mouth wide enough
- You are experiencing lock-jaw
- Opening and closing your mouth is accompanied by popping or clicking sounds
- You feel uncomfortable when eating
- Your face feels tired
- You’re experiencing facial swelling
There are no conclusive studies to show what causes temporomandibular disorders. What we know is that injury such as whiplash, stress, and arthritis increase your risk of developing these disorders.
TMJ Treatment at Richmond West Dental
To diagnose your TMD, we’ll first ask you questions regarding your health history. Some conditions, such as sinus problems and gum disease, may make you more susceptible to temporomandibular disorders. We’ll also conduct a thorough physical check to determine whether you are showing any of the signs mentioned above. Where necessary, we may require x-rays and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans to have an in-depth look at the positioning of your jaws and temporomandibular joint.
Depending on the outcome of the physical check and radiography results, our dentists will determine whether you need the attention of a maxillofacial surgeon. Our dentist may also prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve muscle pains. If the disorders are a result of teeth grinding, the dentist may recommend a nightguard.
Home Remedies for TMJ Disorders
Temporomandibular joint disorders can be particularly painful and uncomfortable. Here are a few things you can do to relieve the pain at home:
- Avoid sudden and extreme jaw movements as these overextend your jaw and worsen the pain
- Avoid hard foods like raw carrots and opt for softer options such as yogurt and mashed potatoes
- Practice proper posture and avoid gripping your phone between your ear and shoulder
- Use cold packs to alleviate pain and swelling
Home remedies are not substitutes for professional care. If you are experiencing any problems with your jaw, give Richmond West Dental in Toronto, Ontario, a call.