TMJ Disorder: Why It Hurts & What To Do About It

Whether your TMJ is due to injury or a developmental issue, it can be a physically crippling and painful disorder. Learn more about the root cause of the disorder, and try the following tips to help relieve your pain and increase the mobility of your jaw.

Why It Hurts

Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ, is due to a disorder of the hinge between the upper and lower halves of the jaw. The joint allows you to open and close your mouth, shifts your lower jaw from left to right, and helps to reduce pressure in the Eustachian tube in your ear.

When the joint doesn't work properly, it can result in pain while chewing, talking, or yawning. The joint may also lock either in the closed or open position, and your ears may feel full or pressurized, like when you're in an airplane and need to yawn to pop them.

Self-Care Tips

One of the best things you can do yourself to reduce the problems in your jaw is to try and relax. Feeling stressed can make you grind your teeth or clench your jaw without realizing it, which adds pressure on the joint. To combat this, try to consciously allow your jaw to go slack and relax the muscles as much as possible.

Another method of self-care is to massage the muscles surrounding the joint to help them to relax. Gently rub your fingers just below your ears, and then move to the surrounding areas. You can also get a professional massage to help relax the muscles in your shoulders and neck which may be putting stress on the joint.

Seek A Specialist

If you need more help, seek out a prosthodontist, like Dr Ronald J Shupe Inc cosmetic dentist kelowna. Prosthodontists are dentists who are trained and specialize in the creation of prosthetics to compensate for missing teeth and help correct problems like TMJ disorder.

A prosthodontist will evaluate your jaw through a physical exam and x-rays. Once they understand how your joint is misaligned, they'll create a splint for you which fits in your mouth, like a dental retainer or nightguard. This splint gently pushes your lower jaw in the direction it needs to go for the joint to be properly aligned. You'll probably be directed to wear it while you sleep, but in severe conditions you will wear it during some waking hours as well. Over time, this will help to correct the jaw alignment so your joint works more effectively, but you'll need to keep using the splint to maintain the results.

The pain and lack of mobility you're experiencing due to TMJ disorder isn't something you need to suffer through. With these tips you can help to reduce the symptoms and live an easier, less painful life.