How TMJ Disorders Lower Your Life Quality and How to Find Relief

How TMJ Disorders Lower Your Life Quality and How to Find Relief

December 1, 2021

Pain in your jaw or face can be excruciating and make you worry, especially when you don’t know its cause. For most of us, the pain in our faces may be related to the temporomandibular joint. The TMJ is the joint connecting the lower and upper jawbones of your oral cavity. So anytime your joint is not working as it should, you might have symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder.

The TMJ is made up of ligaments, muscles, bones, and discs that move your jaw backward, forward, and side to side. When you have problems such as pain in your jaw joint, it can make it difficult for you to move your jaw. This article will help you understand TMJ, the symptoms you should look out for, the kind of treatment you will need, and where to find TMJ treatment near you.

Symptoms of TMJ Disorder

The Symptoms of TMJ may include:

  • Toothache, headache, and dizziness
  • Pain in the shoulders and the neck
  • Tenderness or pain in your jaw joint
  • Swelling on one side of your face
  • Pain or tired feeling in your face
  • Pain around your ear and while chewing.
  • Grating or clicking sensation when closing or opening your mouth
  • Hearing problems
  • A locked jaw, making it difficult to open or close your mouth.

Risk Factors and Causes

The causes and risk factors of the temporomandibular joint disorder include:

  • Poor posture
  • Orthodontic braces
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Stress and anxiety may cause tightening of your facial jaw and muscles
  • Jaw injuries like a heavy blow or whiplash
  • Arthritic damage to the joint cartilage
  • Excessive use of chewing gum
  • A connective tissue disease that affects your temporomandibular joint

How is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder Diagnosed?

Our dentist in Mandeville, LA, usually makes the diagnosis of TMJ disorder. Your dentist will do so by checking your jaw joints for tenderness and pain. They will also listen for any grating or clicking sounds when you try to move the jaw. The dentist may also contact further testing such as X-ray, CT scan, and MRI scan to rule out any other problems and have a detailed picture of what’s happening in your face.


They are many treatment options for TMJ. You can address TMJ issues using the home care option or visit our dentist at Alvarez Dental for further care.

Home Treatment

The following home care options will help you find healing and relief. They include

  • Practice an upright or good posture and avoid placing your chin on your arm.
  • Eat soft non-chewy foods and avoid that which require large bites like the sandwiches
  • Take over the counter anti-inflammatory medication
  • Place cold packs or moist heat on your jaw and the side of your face for at least ten minutes during the day.
  • Avoid unnecessary or extreme jaw movements. For example, avoid a lot of chewing gum, avoid yelling, which may make you open your jaw widely, and try to place your hand on your jaw when you yawn.
  • Massage your jaw and neck muscles. You can seek advice from your doctor or your physical therapist about the gentle stretches that you can do at home
  • Learn to relax. Ask your dentist or doctor about any stress management techniques to help you loosen your jaw.
  • Position your teeth and your jaw slightly apart often. Place your tongue between your teeth or use mouth guards if you have problems with clenching or grinding your teeth.

Medical Treatment

If the home care treatment has no effect and the tenderness and pain persist, then visit our emergency dentist near you as soon as you can. Your doctor will recommend the following TMJ disorder treatments options:

  • Medications such as muscle relaxers, pain relievers, or anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Oral splints or mouth guards help keep your jaw in place to prevent clenching or grinding of your teeth.
  • Physical therapy. This involves massage techniques and stretches, which will help stretch and strengthen your jaw. A physical therapist can also do ultrasounds and evaluate behaviors that may make the TMJ worse.
  • Surgical options. When all these treatment options fail to relieve your pain, your doctor may recommend surgical procedures such as open joint surgery, TMJ arthroscopy, modified condylotomy, or arthrocentesis. These surgeries can be either non-invasive or traditional surgery.