As we roll into 2022, many will resolve to be a better version of themselves than they were last year. If you are ready to tackle your TMJ symptoms head-on, there is no better time than the present. TMJ can range in severity from mildly irritating to debilitating, but the good news is that you don’t have to suffer. Some treatments could have you saying goodbye to pain this upcoming year.
What is TMJ?
There is a sliding hinge that connects the skull to the jawbone. That hinge is called the temporomandibular joint. There is one joint on each side of the jaw. TMJ disorders can cause pain or limitation in how the jaw performs and moves. Although there is rarely a direct cause for TMJ disorder, there can be many factors that combine to present symptoms, such as genetics, jaw injury, and arthritis. For most, the symptoms of TMJ can be managed effectively using non-invasive treatment protocols.
What are the Symptoms of TMJ?
People with TMJ usually report symptoms such as:
- Aching pain in the facial muscles
- Tenderness or pain of the jaw
- Aching pain around or in the ear
- Pain at the temporomandibular joint
- Locking of the temporomandibular joint
- Difficulty while chewing
Some people will also experience a clicking or grating sensation when they open and close their mouths or when chewing.
What is the Treatment for TMJ?
Because many factors play into developing TMJ issues, people respond to various therapies differently. The treatment for TMJ can involve:
According to statistics, 75% of people in America will experience the symptoms of TMJ disorder throughout their lifetime. Many do not seek medical treatment and find relief of symptoms by making simple lifestyle changes such as:
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories
- Jaw exercises prescribed by a dentist
- Eating softer foods
- Avoiding yawning
- Avoiding chewing
- Alternating ice and heat packs
- Massage of the jaw muscles
One of the most common causes of TMJ is stress, so making small changes can often be enough to curb the symptoms of TMJ.
When home remedies and lifestyle changes aren’t enough, it is a good idea to consider other treatment protocols. Dental splints can be helpful to stop tooth grinding and clenching. Bite guards are also recommended. A mouth guard helps to stabilize the joint and take pressure off of the jaw. Before you decide to try treating TMJ on your own, it is a good idea to be evaluated by a dentist to make sure that you are not doing more harm than good.
Injections in the jaw can sometimes curb the symptoms of TMJ. They take less than 30 minutes and only one appointment. In addition, there is no recovery time. Corticosteroid injections are useful to reduce inflammation that can lead to chronic jaw pain. Botox is also an option. It is a neurotoxin that works by paralyzing the jaw muscles, which helps to stop clenching motions.
Botox for TMJ Eases Headache Pain
TMJ might not be life-threatening, but it can alter your quality of life. When we can get your TMJ symptoms under control, we are able to help ease things like headache pain and other adverse side effects that can come from it. The difference can make life a whole lot more enjoyable.
If your TMJ is severe enough, then you might have to consider more invasive options like surgery, but for most people, lifestyle changes and injections are typically enough. If you are wondering which treatment is right for you, the best place to start is to schedule an appointment with our office to come up with an action plan to tackle your TMJ symptoms. As we roll into a new year, now is an excellent time to resolve to alleviate your TMJ symptoms for good!