When the joint becomes irritated and inflamed, which can happen as the result of a variety of different reasons, you may experience some significant pain. There are some things you can do at home to manage it.
Over the counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) have numerous purposes. These medications help to relieve pain and swelling. If they are not effective, your dentist may prescribe stronger pain medication. Other prescription medications that may be effective are muscle relaxants as well as those for anxiety (which help if your TMJ trouble is caused by stress-related bruxism).
Change Your Diet
Many foods can lead to significant pain because they require your TMJ to work hard when it is already irritated. These foods include, those that are hard, crunchy, chewy, sticky or oversized. The force exerted, or the exhaustion of the jaw from overuse, triggers pain. Altering your diet can bring relief. Stick to soft foods and make sure to cut anything too large into more manageable pieces.
Massage the Joint
Massages loosen joints. This goes for your TMJ as well. Massaging around the joint several times a day will not only loosen it, it will help to increase blood flow, which will decrease inflammation. A massage to the neck can also help to relieve tension that may also be contributing to TMJ pain.
Wear a Night Guard
For many people, TMJ pain is caused by bruxism, or the clenching and grinding of your teeth. Bruxism often occurs at night, when you have no control over it. Clenching puts a lot of unnecessary pressure on your joint as you clench the muscles. Wearing a night guard places a cushion between your teeth, and prevents too much pressure from being exerted, and allowing your muscles to relax.
There are plenty of ways to manage your TMJ pain at home. However, if the pain becomes unmanageable, an oral surgeon may be able to help. Contact your office for more information.