TMJ Disorder: The Symptoms and Treatments
First of all, what is TMJ?
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, which is the hinge responsible for moving your lower jaw up, down, and side-to-side. When any part of this joint system is damaged, it results in Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TJD). Often times TMJ and TMD are used interchangeably.
What to look for: The most common symptom of TMJ is pain and/or tenderness around the joint or when moving your mouth. Other symptoms include aches and pain in or around the ears, pain or swelling in the face on the affected side, headaches, a popping or clicking noise in the jaw when you open or close your mouth, or a locked jaw. Since these symptoms could also be signs of other issues, make an appointment with your dentist or doctor.
Treatments: Right now, there isn’t a single cure for TMJ disorder, but there are multiple ways to alleviate the symptoms. If you have pain while chewing, try eating softer foods and avoid chewing gum. For aches and pains, try taking over-the-counter pain-relievers or anti-inflammatory drugs. For facial pain, swelling or spasms, try using heat packs. If you believe your TMJ symptoms are caused or aggravated by grinding your teeth, talk to your dentist about a bite plate, which can keep your teeth from grinding against each other. If you think you or someone in your family may have TMJ syndrome, make sure to visit your dentist right away to learn about relieving it.