At one time or another, all of us experience aches and pains, popping and cracking noises and other discomforts – some as a normal part of life, some as signs of a more serious problem. TMJ (temporalmandibular joint disorder) can be both.
You might not even realize that there are specialized joints in the jaw responsible for comfortable movement and strength – needed when you talk, eat, yawn or open and close your mouth in general. Though a fairly common jaw problem, TMJ can make those movements quite painful, or at the very least, quite annoying.
For many people, TMJ is a temporary affliction with symptoms that can resolve on their own, or with some do-it-yourself care. But for many others, it can cause increasing chronic pain and needs professional attention.
Tracking the symptoms of TMJ
The disorder can also cause problems for your head, neck, ears – even your back and hands. In the most extreme cases, people with TMJ can barely move their jaws. But do you actually have the disorder?
TMJ can present a variety of symptoms
In addition to the classic jaw pain and/or stiffness, you may also have headaches dizziness, neck and shoulder pain, ringing in your ears, jaw locking and other types of pain and numbness. But none of these symptoms, even in combination, mean you have TMJ. So the first thing you should do if you suspect you may have TMJ is schedule a consultation with Dr. Barney. Call us today: (304) 754-8803.
Treating the symptoms of TMJ
Depending on the severity – from very painful to a little cracking, you can start with some home care:
- Apply heat or cold packs
- Stretch your jaw, neck and shoulders
- Perform relaxation exercises to help eliminate jaw clenching
- Avoid hard-to-chew or crunchy foods
The dentist may also recommend that you:
- Wear a mouth guard at night to stop teeth grinding
- Take mild anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen, or stronger, prescription medication if necessary
When simpler measures don’t make a difference in your symptoms, we can help you with a more involved treatment plan.