Treatment Options for TMJ

TMJ is a painful condition that can be difficult to diagnose because you may think you have an earache or toothache and not realize the problem is with the joint in your jaw. One clue that you're dealing with TMJ is if you hear a clicking sound in your jaw when you open and close your mouth. A dentist can easily diagnose the condition, and, fortunately, it often clears up with home treatments. Here's a look at some treatments for TMJ.

Rest Your Jaw As Much As Possible

You may need to eat soft foods for a while so you can avoid chewing on tough meat and crunchy foods that give your jaw a workout. You might also try massaging the area and practicing stress relief so you don't hold tension in your jaw. Your dentist might make a cushioned mouthguard for you to wear if you have a habit of clenching your teeth. By keeping stress and strain off the muscles and joint for a while, they have time to rest and heal; plus, you may feel less pain.

Try Ice And Medication For Pain

Try applying ice over your jaw joint for help with pain. Your doctor or dentist might also recommend taking over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce your pain. Other medications might help too. Some antidepressants can double as pain relievers. You might be given anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxers, or even prescription pain medication if your pain is severe. You might even receive injections of medications directly into your joint to reduce swelling and pain.

Consider Surgery As A Last Resort

Your TMJ symptoms should gradually go away as the area heals. However, that depends on the cause of your pain. If it's a chronic condition such as arthritis or a dental problem, then surgery might be needed. Surgery is considered a last resort when nothing else works to help your pain. If the cause of the pain is misaligned teeth, then dental work might be necessary. If the cause is in the joint itself, then you could possibly need joint surgery. This could be a very minor surgery to clean debris out of the joint or a major surgery to replace or modify the joint.

Since TMJ can have a variety of causes, the first step is to have a medical evaluation to find out what triggers your pain. Then, effective treatment can be recommended. Although the pain can be severe at times, your doctor can help you manage your pain while your joint and muscles heal over time. To learn more, contact a medical facility like The Alpher Center.