Oral pain can be one of the most annoying and agonizing kinds of pain in the body and TMJ or temporomandibular joint syndrome certainly qualifies. TMJ often leads to pain in the teeth and gums as well as cause migraines, a sore jaw, earaches, and popping of the jaw. Not a pretty ride for anyone suffering this. Naturally, you’d want to know if there is a cure for TMJ or any TMJ home treatments. In this article, we’ll go over what TMJ is and treating TMJ pain as well as a TMJ cure.
What is TMJ?
TMJ is the shorthand for a syndrome associated with the temporomandibular joint, this is the hinge that connects your lower jaw to the temporal bone of the skull. It’s right in front of each ear and most likely felt when you pop your jaw. This bone is important as it allows your jaw that smooth motion you don’t notice when speaking, yawning, or chewing your meal. You can see why TMJ would be a painful thing to have as we use our jaws all day and it’s active at night as well. Tough to have a pain associated with eating and communication.
There are quite a few things that can cause TMJ, such as a tooth or jaw injury, grinding your teeth (a.k.a bruxism), poor posture, arthritis, stress, and your everyday gum chewing. There are a myriad of reasons why you could develop TMJ, but then how do you know if you have it or not? While going to a dentist will answer that question for certain, let’s look at a few of the ways that can tip you off to having it.
Here are some symptoms of TMJ:
- popping sounds in your ears
- stiff and/or sore jaw muscles
- locking of the jaw
- ear pains and earaches
- clicking and popping of the jaw
Don’t worry if you have TMJ, the way to fix it isn’t like going to the dentist for a cavity. There are ways to mitigate it and correct it on your own, but as always a dentist is best to consult before or during any kind of self-treatment.
TMJ Treatment at Home
There are a few TMJ home treatments that can keep you from being in pain all day and night. Some are as simple as ice or cold packs to the area where you feel the pain or the part of the joint previously pointed out. Another way is an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug like Aleve or Motrin, even basic aspirin could help with it. It would probably be in your best interest to avoid chewing gum and stick to softer foods, anything that would further cause your jaw stress will only further TMJ along. If you’re apprehensive about using any over-the-counter drugs then perhaps an essential oil is for you. Lavender, Sweet Marjoram, and Chamomile are known to provide temporary relief from TMJ related pain. While none of these are a TMJ cure, they are certainly effective at treating TMJ pain.
Sometimes home treatments just aren’t enough to solve a problem and you may need to consult a medical or dental professional to get a cure for TMJ. After a professional evaluation and knowing you have TMJ or not, a doctor may pursue one of the following TMJ cures or treatments:
- Dental split: an appliance put in the mouth that keeps the teeth aligned and stops you from grinding your teeth. This device looks much like a mouth guard but is fitted to your mouth and prescribed.
- Physical Therapy: these amount to jaw exercises that improve range of motion, jaw flexibility, and is done or taught by a professional.
- Prescription-strength Medicines: steroid injections such as beclomethasone, muscle relaxers such as cyclobenzaprine, or antidepressants such as amitriptyline or desipramine.
- In more severe cases of TMJ, you may need surgical intervention. There are two primary options here:
- An arthroscopy or arthrocentesis, both are minimally invasive and done as an outpatient. The recovery time for these procedures is around a week.
- A total joint replacement, which requires several days in the hospital and a four to six week recovery time.
Altogether, these medical TMJ treatments are for more extreme cases and for when the home remedies aren’t enough to treat TMJ pain or act as a cure for TMJ. But, many people confuse TMJ with other jaw disorders or oral issues, so it is best to get a diagnosis from a medical or dental professional before pursuing any TMJ home treatments or cures.
Pain, no matter the kind, can make each day miserable and no one should have to suffer that sort of existence. If the symptoms of TMJ sounds like what you’re experiencing, then call your medical or dental professional and see if it’s what you have. Explore the TMJ home treatments if they suit or explore the cures for TMJ listed, see what works for you. In the end, this pain can be defeated with the methods for treating TMJ pain listed. Your medical or dental professional may even have better recommendations, so always consult the doctor before you go running to the drug store. Best not to waste money on something a doctor will tell you wouldn’t help to begin with.