Many adults experience jaw pain, and too often, that discomfort goes untreated. If you experience pain when you chew or open your mouth wide, or if your jaw frequently clicks or pops when speaking or eating, you may have TMD, or temporomandibular joint dysfunction – frequently called just TMJ.
The temporomandibular joint is the network of muscles, nerves, and bones on the side of your face that helps you open and close your mouth. When something goes wrong with its alignment, discomfort is soon to follow. The best way to treat TMD is by working with a dentist, but there are some things you can do at home to get TMD relief in South Austin.
Keep reading to find three great tips for easing your jaw pain until you can make it to the dentist’s office.
#1: EAT SOFT FOODS
Eating hard or crunchy foods is a sure-fire way to cause your TMJ pain to flare up, as the jaw has to work extra hard to chew things like nuts, chips, and fresh fruits and vegetables. But you don’t have to sacrifice your nutrition in exchange for relief from jaw pain. Try out the following items while you eat a soft foods diet to give your TMJ a break:
#2: APPLY A WARM COMPRESS BEFORE BED
It’s common for jaw pain to be at its worst in the morning, after a night of teeth grinding and jaw clenching. If this is the case for you, then wetting a washcloth with warm water and applying it to the affected TMJ for 15 minutes before you fall asleep can help to relax the joint and prevent it from overworking during the night.
#3: TAKE PAIN RELIEVER
If all else fails, it is safe to take an over-the-counter pain reliever for TMJ discomfort. An NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can be obtained over-the-counter and will help to relieve muscle pain and swelling. Aspirin and Ibuprofen are common types of NSAIDs.
Patients who clench their jaw due to anxiety may benefit from an anti-anxiety medication, which should be obtained with a prescription from your doctor.
DON’T PUT OFF A VISIT TO THE DENTIST
While these at-home remedies may provide temporary relief from your jaw pain, it can always come back – sometimes worse than before. The best way to get real relief is to work with your dentist to find an appropriate treatment. A splint or customized night guard you wear during sleep may be enough to provide a lasting solution. Whatever treatment works for you, it’s worth it to seek relief from TMD.
MEET THE DENTIST
Dr. Jack Fan is the dentist South Austin trusts for dental treatments ranging from general checkups and cleanings all the way to TMD therapy. Dr. Fan has been practicing dentistry in the area for years and has helped numerous patients finally say goodbye to their chronic jaw pain. To learn more about your options with TMD treatment or to schedule a general appointment, do not hesitate to call the practice today at (512) 361-4288.