Temporomandibular joint disorder, commonly referred to as TMJ or TMD is a fairly common disorder of the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull on either side of your head – it acts as the “hinge” that lets you open and close your jaw. For several different reasons, this joint can become irritated, injured, or feel stuck. This is the disorder of the joint referred to as TMJ. Most people who are experiencing this disorder want to know what is involved in treating TMJ and if it will go away.
The good news is, TMJ disorder can and will go away. If we examine the causes of TMJ disorder, we can get a pretty good idea of how to treat it. There are certain known factors that can result in TMJ disorder, such as:
These can all contribute to the disorder, although sometimes a cause won’t be apparent at all. If you notice any of these symptoms or a combination of them, you may have TMJ disorder:
With a few changes you can make for yourself, the disorder will often clear up on its own. Examples of these are simple things such as using a cold/warm pack on the joints a few times each day, making an effort to keep your jaw slightly open to relieve pressure on your jaw, physical therapy types of exercises to loosen up the joint and relax it, change behaviors that can irritate the joint, such as holding a phone with your shoulder and head. These kinds of things can make a big improvement in your TMJ discomfort.
If these techniques don’t help, the next step in treating TMJ is often over the counter medications such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen. Most people will respond very well to this treatment as directed by their dentist or doctor. In more persistent cases, a muscle relaxant may be used for a very short time to relax the jaw long enough to heal. Some people also benefit from oral splints and mouth guards. These muscle relaxant and mouth guard treatments will need to be prescribed by a dentist or doctor, so if your TMJ disorder requires them the professionals at Comfort Sleep Solutions will refer you to Comfort Care Dental for further care.
Most cases of TMJ disorder will be solved by these treatments. Rarely is further intervention necessary. These can include ultrasound therapy, dental work to remedy biting issues that may be causing stress on the jaw, laser therapy or injections of anesthesia into the joint directly are also options. Very few people with need surgery to end TMJ disorder. Remember, TMJ disorder will resolve itself in most cases with the non-invasive techniques and with little or no medications. If you feel like you have TMJ disorder and would like to talk to a professional about treatments, Comfort Sleep Solutions would be happy to refer you to professionals who will help you on your way to be TMJ pain free!