Treating Your TMJ Disorder

Here are some simple ways to get your TMJ pain under control. 

Think you could be dealing with TMJ disorder? This problem, which causes aching and pain in the jaws, is more common than you might think. The good news is that it will sometimes go away on its own; however, our Joliet, IL, dentist Dr. Lanette Disera and Dr. Christine Dunham can also provide you with care if these home treatment options just don’t seem to be providing you with ample relief.

What are the warning signs of a TMJ disorder? 

You could very well be dealing with a TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder) if you are experiencing any of these common symptoms,

  • Jaw pain
  • Pain that radiates to your neck or shoulder
  • Sore and easily tired or achy jaws
  • Facial swelling
  • Pain around the ear
  • Discomfort or pain when chewing
  • Headaches
  • A clicking or popping sound when opening your mouth
  • Feeling as if the jaw locks up or gets stuck
  • Tinnitus
  • Dizziness

Who is more at risk for TMJ disorder? 

While TMJ disorder can happen to anyone there are certain risk factors that can increase your chances of developing this jaw joint problem. Some risk factors include,

  • Teeth grinding (known as bruxism)
  • Connective tissue diseases
  • Jaw injuries
  • Arthritis
  • Anxiety or stress

How is TMJ disorder treated? 

The good news is that even if you suspect that you might have a TMJ disorder you can start to treat the problem at home. You can manage symptoms by simply,

  • Cutting food into bite-sized pieces
  • Eating softer foods
  • Avoiding chewing gum
  • Maintaining good posture or improving your current posture
  • Applying heat or ice to the area to ease symptoms
  • Taking an anti-inflammatory medication
  • Massaging your jaws and neck (or turn to professional massage therapy)
  • Find outlets to manage stress effectively (deep breathing; yoga; physical therapy)

If the pain doesn’t subside despite home care, it’s important to talk to your Joliet, IL, family dentist. We can provide additional treatment options including,

  • Additional medications (e.g. muscle relaxants)
  • Mouthguards or dental splints
  • Physical therapy and special exercises to strengthen the jaws
  • Surgery (only recommended in more serious cases)

Nothing is more important than finding a Joliet, IL, area dentist that can provide you with comprehensive dental care. If you are dealing with jaw pain and other symptoms of a TMJ disorder call Dr. Disera, or Dr. Dunham at (815) 744-4333 to schedule a consultation.

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