TMJ Pain Relief – Long Term Solutions

tmj pain relief

A TMJ disorder is a problem that occurs when the temporomandibular joint gets damaged or stressed in some way. This joint is the one connecting the lower jaw to the skull and is the one that controls all the jaw movements. The temporomandibular joint is supposed to move freely, with a thin disc of muscle acting as ta divider between the two. When this muscle gets pulled by accident, the joints start rubbing at each other, which often causes the pain related to TMJ. Stressed muscles surrounding the jaw area can also cause discomfort as well.

There are many conditions that can are similar to those of a TMJ disorder so careful physical and patient history examination needs to be done by a dentist in order to diagnose this problem. Some of the signs that are related to this disorder are clicking and popping of the jaw, tenderness in the jaw area, limited ability to open and close the mouth, and locking of the jaw.


TMJ usually does not require any surgeries. More often than not, the treatments prescribed for those who have it involve taking medicines, using dental appliances, and applying home remedies. This does not mean, however, that these treatments are not long-term. Below, we will give you some options for long term TMJ pain relief.

• Mouth Guard

TMJ is usually caused by unnecessary pain placed on the jaw. Mouth guards or splints are dental appliances that are designed to relieve this. They are usually used to cure the person of bruxism or the grinding of teeth at night which puts lots of stress on the jaw.

• Dental treatment

Problems with the bite can lead to TMJ because of uneven teeth can cause unnecessary pressure and stress on the jaw. There are various dental treatments that a dentist can recommend for TMJ pain relief, depending on the case of the patient. Bite adjustment which requires the reshaping of some teeth is an example. Replacing of missing teeth can also be prescribed.

• Stress reduction

Stress is a big contributing factor in TMJ. Doctors may require the need for psychotherapy and counselling in the event of this to relieve some the stress of the patient. Cognitive behavioural therapy and the practice of relaxation strategies like hypnosis and meditation have also been said to help.


• Surgery

A surgery may only be required if all the other non-invasive options didn’t work on the patient. Moreover, only patients which have been proven to have a structural problem on their jaw are prescribed to have one. Surgery can only be carried out by a surgeon and specialist and should be strictly based on dental scans such as X-rays.

One example of a surgical treatment often done to patients with TMJ is called the ‘key-hole’ surgery. Here, small incisions will be made on the jaw area of the patient and a small camera will be placed inside for the doctors to properly see the affected area. The view they will see will determine what kind of adjustments they have to do to correct the problem.


More Information:

About Jaws Wikipedia

Clicking Jaw, Why You have it, and What to Do About it

 

clicking jawClicking jaw is a dental problem that is quite common among individuals. Though not fatal, it can be extremely uncomfortable and troubling to an average person. Sometimes, when it has become far too worse, it may even require the use of dental implements or require surgery.

The popping and clicking of the jaw is usually caused by a displaced disc on the area. The joints in the jaw are composed of a ball and socket very much like the joints on our shoulders. These ball and socket usually do not touch its other because of a thin cartilage between them that is held place by a muscle. When the tissues of the jaw joint are pulled out of their normal alignment, the disc is also torn and pulled forward as well. Without the cartilage disc between the socket and the ball of the jaw, the bones start rubbing together and press on nerves. This phenomenon is what causes the clicking sounds as well the pain that is usually coupled with it.


Most of the time, jaw popping and clicking can be cured by conservative treatments that don’t require any form of surgery. These treatments may range from home remedies to oral prescriptions depending on the severity of the problem and the pain that goes with it. Below are just some of the ways to treat jaw popping.

Application of cold or hot packs- put an ice pack on the side of the afflicted area for around 10 minutes. Afterwards, do some simple stretching exercises prescribed by your trusty physical therapist or dentist. After the exercise, put a warm towel on the area again for added relief.

Go on a soft diet- jaw pain and clicking can become severe if people start to overwork their jaw. Try to spare yourself from too much chewing action by going on a soft diet instead. Food such as cottage cheese, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, and yogurt are good choices. Avoid crunchy foods and cut them into small pieces if they are too big or hard to chew properly.

Wearing dental appliances- splints and night guards are commonly given to people who suffer from clicking and popping jaw. These two look like plastic mouthpieces that are designed to specifically fit on someone’s lower and upper teeth. They work by preventing the abnormal grinding of the upper and lower teeth columns, thus lessening the jaws’ grinding and clenching. Night guards are only worn at night while splints are worn throughout the day.


Avoid extreme jaw movements as much as possible- too much chewing and yawning are actions that also usually cause jaw clicking. Chewing gum as well as eating hard foods all the time can very much lead to this problem. Careless yawning and stretching of the mouth is also a common cause.

Have corrective dental treatments- plagued with a teeth problem? Go have a corrective treatment now. Jaw clicking can also be caused by unbalanced bites so make sure to even out the surface of your teeth. You can do this by replacing missing tooth or having crowns, braces, and bridges.

More information about TMJ

 

 


TMJ Relief is Sweet: 5 Steps to Relieve TMJ Pain

 

tmj reliefHow do you get that TMJ relief you’ve been practically dying for? (I know, I’ve been there.) You have to understand what’s happening in your jaw, then see the recommended options below.

A TMJ disorder happens when the temporomandibular joint connecting the lower jaw to skull and the muscles surrounding it get damaged in some way. Besides from trauma, teeth grinding, and an uneven bite, serious TMJ pain can also be brought by the erosion or slipping of the joint disk from its proper position. Other causes are arthritis damaged joint cartilage and the joint suffering from an impact or accident.

Though not always serious, this disorder can be extremely uncomfortable for those who have it. When it comes to treatment, non-invasive procedures are commonly recommended by professionals because there is a high risk of complications that can be caused by surgery. More often than not, home remedies for relief are also prescribed by doctors to their patients together with the actual treatment. Here, we will list 5 easy steps for TMJ relief.

1. Go on a soft TMJ diet

Going on a soft diet can help a lot when a flare up of TMJ symptoms occurs. One of the primary causes of this problem is stressed jaw joints from chewing too much or eating hard foods. A soft diet of meals that are very easy consume and won’t require much chewing can lessen the pain not to mention stop the problem from progressing.

2. Apply hot or cold packs

Using hot and cold packs are one of the classic home remedies for TMJ. Apply any of the two at least three times a day especially if you’ve made a slip and ate hard foods on one of your meals or talked for a long time. Apply the pack for 10 minutes at the least for better pain relief. Compared to cold packs, hot packs are easier to prepare if you are always on the go because you just need to throw in a moist towel in a microwave to prepare it. For those who suffer from long-term pain, however, buying a more permanent TMJ relief solution like a thermophore is a good idea.


3. Do not put unnecessary stress on your jaw area

Be conscious of the way you sleep. It might be tempting to sleep on the side of your face where the TMJ pain is felt because the pressure relieves the pain a little. However, this can cause unnecessary stress on that part of your joint too after long hours of leaning on it. Moreover, if your job requires you to always talk to the phone, opt for an earphone instead to remove the pressure you may put on your neck and jaw if you will be talking for a long time.

4. Stop bad habits like nail biting

Such bad mannerism can again put stress on your jaw. If nail biting is something that has been embedded in your habits, try to put some nail polish on them so that you’ll be more conscious in the incident that you bite your nails.

5. Get a massage

Neuromascular massage is very helpful when it comes to relieving pain caused by TMJ. However, it should only be performed by someone who is legally trained and certified. This type of massage relieves not only overworked muscles but stress as well.

 


Read More About TMJ Treatment Options Here

or

Discover the Top 3 Most Effective TMJ Exercises 

Other Resources

TMJ Wikipedia Page

Lockjaw Symptoms and What to Do About Them

lockjaw symptomsLockjaw (See Wikipedia page here) symptoms can be diverse. It can range from very mild pain in the lower part of the jaw to the complete inability to move the temporomandibular joint. Some of the symptoms that can be related to severe cases of lockjaw are enumerated below:

• Pain in the temporomandibular joint and facial muscles that can radiate from the neck to the shoulders.
• Pain and ringing sound in the ears
• Hearing loss
• Swelling of the affected side
• Jaw popping, clicking, and grating

Lockjaw is a jaw disorder that commonly happens to people who have a habit of teeth grinding. This mannerism, which can also be referred to as bruxism, can cause muscle spasm and inflammation of the temporomandibular joint or the joint that connects the lower part of the jaw to the skull. Besides from bruxism, lockjaw can also be caused by teeth misalignment or other habits such as excessive chewing. People who are aging can also be prone to this problem.


Ways to Relieve Symptoms of Lockjaw

lockjaw2It is very important to identify the cause of lockjaw first in order to prescribe treatment for the disease and its symptoms. There are times when the use of medications and even operative corrections are prescribed but there are also very simple tricks that can help alleviate lockjaw symptoms.

One way is for the patient to avoid and relieve stress as much as possible. It is said that bruxism is caused by an anxious state of mind so avoiding stress that can lead to one of the causes of lockjaw can help a lot. Reducing the pressure placed on the joint is also very helpful. There are many ways one can do this like trying a different sleeping position every now and then so as not to put too much stress on just one part of the face. Avoiding hard food can also help. If the jaw joint is already damaged and inflamed, having meals that are hard to chew can make the problem more severe. For prevention and relief, applying hot compress on the affected area twice or thrice a day can also be extremely helpful.

Drugs also help though they should only be taken if the patient has a proper prescription from a doctor. There are a number of over-the-counter painkillers that are helpful in relieving lockjaw symptoms such as muscle relaxants. For inflamed jaw joints, a doctor may prescribe the injection of corticosteroids to correct the problem. Others even recommend the injection of what is called botulinum toxin to relieve the pain that commonly comes along with the lockjaw.

The use of dental appliances, on the other hand, is used by those whose lockjaw is caused by grinding of teeth at night. Some examples are night guards and splints which are made to perfectly fit the upper and lower teeth of a patient. They work by preventing the person from meshing and grinding his/her teeth together when he/she is already sleeping. This option, however, is not really recommended for people who are diagnosed with sleep apnea because it has been said that the condition can be made worse with the use of a night guard.


TMJ Exercises – 3 Easy Jaw Exercises to Help TMJ Disorder

Here are a few exercises you can do by yourself at home to reduce jaw pain. These exercises will work best if you do them regularly. They often work very well in combination with other TMJD treatments. If you are wary of more drastic treatments like medications or surgery, these simple exercises can help.

Consider making a habit of these exercises by doing them everyday at a certain time of day like when you wake up in the morning, in the shower, after lunch, and/or when you go to sleep at night. Try to find two times everyday to perform these exercises, and spend at least five minutes on each exercise.

Andrew Kaplan, DMD, an associate clinical professor at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, author of The TMJ Book, recommends these exercises and claims they can eliminate the strain on joints and areas around the joint. It’s important to consult with medical professionals on any treatments, including these exercises.

• Jaw muscle stretch exercise – Open your mouth and place the palm of your hand on the right side of your jaw, while sliding the lower jaw toward your hand. Push against the jaw and hold for five seconds. This creates resistance to the sideways movement. Repeat this with your left palm against your left jaw, doing this five times on each side.
• Neck stretches – Turn your head to the right to rotate your neck, and then place two left-hand fingers on the lower left jaw. Push a little to stretch your neck muscles, holding this for five seconds. Rotate your neck to the left, this time pushing with two right-hand fingers on your lower right jaw. Again, hold this for five seconds.
• Mouth muscle massage – Do this by placing three fingers of each hand on your temples. Massage the temporalis muscles gently for ten seconds. Try not to exert too much pressure. Do this two or three times. You can apply the same massage to the jaw, with your hands below the ears, massaging the masseter muscles.


Resources:
Jaw Pain on Right or Left Side (An Overview)
Jaw Pain Causes
TMJ Treatments
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122333202166009251.html (WSJ article on TMJD/Teeth Grinding)
http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/TMJ/LessisBest.htm (NIH on Treating TMJD)

TMJ Soft Diet – How Relax the Jaw by Eating Right

There are two aspects to a TMJ diet. The first is a soft-food diet, known as a TMJ soft diet, to avoid irritating your jaw joint. The second is the more long-term diet to help rebuild and strengthen your joints. Remember that neither of these are necessarily the only ways to eat as part of treatment, and that if you’re working with a medical professional, his or her advice is important. Hopefully these diets can help supplement any other treatment you are getting.

Generally the Soft Diet will consist of well-cooked fruits and veggies, eggs, smoothies, soups and yogurt. In addition to choosing foods, you may also try taking very small bites so as to not chew as much.

Try to still eat a healthy diet high in protein and vegetables.

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Typically diet experts recommend keeping your basic diet pretty simple, and then when you are really bored mix it up with other things on this list. Here’s a basic menu you might start out with:

Breakfast: Smoothie with Fruit and Yogurt, Scrambled Eggs

Lunch: Beans with Fish, soft chicken, ground meat, or tofu and well-cooked veggies

Dinner: Rice, Quinoa, or Potatoes with Soup and Veggies

This diet will keep you healthy and skinny without hurting your jaw anymore.

Here are some other food suggestions.

Grains/starches

Baked potatoes, skinless, with sour cream or cream cheese
Breakfast cereal (Cheerios, Cornflakes, Corn Pops, Corn Chex, Rice Krispies), softened/soggy in milk
Cooked hot cereals such as oatmeal, porridge, Cream of Wheat, grits, Cream of Rice, Farina, or Weetabix
Couscous
Lasagna with extra sauce
Macaroni & cheese, cooked soft
Mashed potatoes and gravy
Mashed sweet potatoes
Muffins, pancakes, or waffles (softened by adding syrup or butter and reheating)
Gruel
Pasta cooked soft
Potato salad, mashed
Quinoa
Rice cooked soft with sauce or gravy
Risotto


Protein

Baked beans, slightly mashed
Canned tuna or canned chicken, pureed in blender
Chicken salad or tuna salad
Cottage cheese
Eggs, scrambled
Enchilada pie
Fish cooked soft
Meatloaf, meatballs, cottage pie, and other soft dishes with ground meat
Nut butter such as peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter
Refried beans with melted cheese, sour cream, salsa, or guacamole
Sloppy Joe
Tofu
Yogurt

Fruits and vegetables

Applesauce
Avocados
Bananas, mashed if needed
Creamed corn
Creamed spinach
Fruit juices
Melons: Watermelon, cantaloupe, or honeydew, ripe and cubed
Orange or grapefruit, sectioned
Peeled pears or peaches, ripe or canned
Soup with soft-cooked vegetables
Vegetable juices such as tomato juice or carrot juice
Vegetables cooked soft, mashed, or pureed in the blender

(Source: Wikipedia)

TMJ Diet 2 – Joint Building Diet —>


TMJ Joint Building Diet – The Simple Guide to Building You Joints with Food

You may want to go on a TMJ joint building diet to help your body heal and rebuild damage to your TMJ. This can seem like a very difficult diet to be on, but its really quite simple. It’s just about reducing certain foods and focusing on other foods. You can learn more about the science behind this diet from the resource section below.

Reduce:

Sugar!
Yeast
Preservatives (Esp. MSG)
Starches (Esp. Wheat)
Dairy
Foods Rich in Salicylates (Jams, Jellies, and Juices)

These tend to work against rebuilding joints. You don’t have to go crazy about reducing all these foods, but laying off of them will add to your body’s rebuilding efforts.


What you want to eat:

  • Hyaluronic Acid and Gelatin are fantastic for helping your body build up joints. You can get these from broths made from animal bones and tendons. Making the broth is very easy. The bones and tendons can be found at your local butcher or that section of your grocery store. Try to avoid the supplements of hyaluronic acid and gelatin because they won’t do as much good without being bound up in the nutrients of a soup broth.
  • Red Meats and organ meats can help increase the nutrients that your body will need to fix your joints.
  • Saturated Fats – A moderate amount per day. Consider adding a little whole milk, butter, or meat without all the fat removed to increase joint health. This is still debated because weight gain is very bad for joint health, and saturated fats can lead to weight gain, but as long as you’re keeping your weight down, a small amount of saturated fats can aid your body in repairing joints.

<— TMJ Diet 1 – Soft Diet


What’s Next?

TMJ Exercises
TMJ Treatment

Resources:
http://osteodiet.com/2008/01/02/10-ways-to-reverse-osteoporosis-and-build-bone/
http://www.livestrong.com/article/352311-vitamins-for-joints-cartilage/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyaluronan#Medical_applications
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gelatin#Medical_and_nutritional_properties
http://www.losethattyre.co.uk/the-20-best-and-worst-foods-for-joint-health/

How to Find a TMJ Specialist

According to the NIH there are no certifications in dentistry or any other medical field specifically to specialize in TMJ. However this does not mean there are not doctors who do specialize, it just makes them a little harder to find. Most insurance companies don’t list TMJ specialists specifically.

All “TMJ Specialists” are self-proclaimed. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it means that just because a medical professional says they’re a TMJ specialist, it does not necessarily mean very much. Many people have as much success with a regular doctor vs. a TMJ specialist.


So here are 5 steps you can take to find good TMJ doctor near you:

  1. Know what you are looking for – Are you looking for someone to help you manage your pain? For someone to perform surgery? Or maybe just for someone to help you sort out your treatment options without pressuring you to take one path or another? Each of the professionals will help you in different ways. If you’re not looking for medications or surgery, make that very clear up front and consider looking for alternative TMJ Treatments.
  2. Get involved in an online TMJ community – There are forums of TMJ patients from all over the country. Many of these people will be able to personally recommend a doctor or dentist for you to see.
  3. Consult your current doctor – Often times the medical community is connected enough to know who has had success in treating TMJ. Also, if you’re just looking for someone to help talk about your options, you current doctor might be able to help.
  4. Call your Insurance Provider – Make sure that whoever you are looking at is covered by your insurance provider.
  5. Verify Credentials – Make sure your not seeing a crack doctor by visiting licensing board websites and doctor rating websites.



What’s Next?

TMJ Treatment
TMJ Exercises
Mouth Guards

Resources:
http://www.aaoms.org/findoms.php (Find a TMJ surgeon)
http://www.tmj-dentist-directory.com/
http://www.tmjhope.org/tmj-treatment/choosing-tmj-dentist/
http://www.ratemds.com/
http://www.ama-assn.org/ (American Medical Association – Verify MD credentials here)

Jaw Surgery for TMJ

Jaw Surgery for TMJ

According to The TMJ Association, a non-profit aimed at assisting people with TMJ, surgery is very controversial and should not be taken lightly. They recommend it as more of a last resort than a regular treatment option.


There have been no long-term clinical trials to determine if surgery to treat TMJD is effective. Also there’s no data on how to determine who might benefit from this surgery. With this information, even if you do not get relief from more conservative treatments, you should seriously consider your other options before opting in to surgery.

The risks involved in this surgery are extensive and there’s no guarantee that it will help at all. Some patients actually report it worsening their TMJD symptoms over the long-term.

One main reason professionals have identified for ineffective surgeries is that the underlying problems that are causing TMJD are never relieved. For example if your TMJ is stress related than a surgery might help in the short-term, but in the symptoms will come back if the stress is not managed as well.

With all this said, there may be circumstances where surgery is the best option. If TMJD is caused by rheumatoid arthritis, surgery is often a standard part of the treatment to fix your jaw.

Overall, try to avoid treatments for TMJD that permanently change your jaw or you bite.

 

 

What’s Next?

Jaw Pain Overview
Jaw Pain Causes
TMJ Treatments

Resources:
http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth/Topics/TMJ/LessisBest.htm (NIH on treating TMJD)
http://www.tmj.org/site/content/surgery
http://www.tmj.org/site/content/surgical-management-temporomandibular-disorders-fact-or-fallacy

TMJ Surgery Types Wikipedia Page

How to Find a Good Mouth Guard for TMJ

How to find a good mouth guardFinding a good mouth guard for TMJ can be difficult. This article will help you know what to look for in a good mouth guard.

Mouth guards are useful for reducing clenching and teeth grinding during sleep. They can also be an effective treatment for TMJD.


Here is a list of the important factors to look for in a mouth guard. Many websites like amazon.com have user reviews where you can get feedback on how well a mouth guard does in any of these categories.

Stays in the mouth – It’s important that your mouth guard doesn’t fall out or get spit out during sleep.

Relieves Jaw pain – Check how well the mouth guard your looking at relieves jaw pain.

Reduces clenching – Some mouth gaurds will stop you from grinding without actually reduces the amouth of clenching druing sleep.

Easy to mold to your mouth – An important factor for a good mouth guard.

Comfortable and not too bulky – You’re never going to actually wear your mouth guard if it’s uncomfortable.

Overall increase in sleeping quality – make sure other consumers have had a much better sleeping experience with that mouth guard.

Price – Don’t be afriad to pay a little extra for a fantastic mouth guard. Quality mouth gaurds start around $50 and go to over $100.

We cannot officially recommend any particular mouth gaurds as we have not done any real testing, but we hear that SmartGaurd makes some good products.

Good luck finding a mouth guard that’s just right for you.


What’s Next?

Bruxism (Teeth Clenching)
Jaw Pain Overview
Jaw Pain Causes
TMJ Treatments

Resources:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002386/ (NIH on Bruxism)
http://www.amazon.com/s/mouth+guard
http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/mouth-guards

Mouth Guards Wikipedia Page