What Is TMJ Therapy?
Most people quickly realize that they are dealing with TMJ disorder, a condition that affects how the jaws move and function. You may experience jaw pain, stiffness or tenderness, particularly when trying to open your mouth or chew food. The jaws may even click or pop when trying to open and close them.
Unfortunately, many people who grind their teeth also find that they are more at risk for developing a TMJ disorder at some point during their life. If this sounds like you, our expert medical team here at Great Hills ENT is ready to provide you with the therapy and individualized care you need to reduce and even eliminate your TMJ disorder symptoms.
When it comes to TMJ, some patients may find that the problem clears on its own. Of course, if there are certain habits present, such as teeth grinding, you may find that it’s nearly impossible for the jaws to have the time they need to heal properly. When this happens it’s important that you have a team of ENT specialists by your side to create a treatment plan that will work best for you.
In most cases, there are simple conservative measures that an otolaryngologist may recommend that you follow to help manage your symptoms to allow your jaws time to heal. The key is to give your jaws and surrounding muscles time to rest, which can be accomplished by eating a soft food diet and avoiding foods such as chewing gum that require you to open your mouth and jaws wide.
If you are a teeth grinder it’s important that you are cognizant of when you do it. If it happens during the day, take time to massage the jaws and facial muscles to help loosen them up (this is a common issue among those who sit at computer desks all day). If you grind your teeth or clench your jaw at night you won’t be able to stop this unconscious habit while you are asleep but one of our ENT doctors can provide you with a custom-made occlusal splint, which fits over your upper and lower teeth like a retainer. This splint will prevent wear and tear on the joint while you sleep and may also provide relief from morning jaw pain and discomfort.
Other treatment options include icing the joint, taking over-the-counter pain relievers or muscle relaxants, as well as finding ways to alleviate stress (as stress can be a major culprit of TMJ disorder and teeth grinding). With the proper measures and habits in place, you will find that your TMJ disorder can and will go away with patience and adequate care.
If you are dealing with sore, achy jaws due to a TMJ disorder and want to find out how our otolaryngologists can help, then call Great Hills ENT in the Round Rock, Cedar Park, and Austin, TX regions today at (512) 258-2300.