TMJ disorder is a relatively common condition.
That said, only around five percent of people who have symptoms of TMJ disorder will actually ever require surgery. So, if you are suffering from facial or jaw pain, there are a number of pain-relieving strategies you can try at home. Here’s what you should know about the disorder, what you can do to ease your discomfort, and how we can help…
What is TMJ, exactly?
TMJ disorders refer to a whole group of problems that affect the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), which is the joint that connects the lower jaw and the skull. TMJ disorders can cause jaw pain, as well as discomfort and tenderness in the face, and difficulty opening and closing the jaw. In many cases, the cause of these disorders is unknown, but some possible causes include degeneration of the jaw joint (such as in the case of arthritis), or trauma caused by an injury or accident. Grinding and clenching of the teeth, which is often caused by stress, can also contribute to the development of the condition.
The most common symptoms of TMD is pain in the jaw, although it is also possible to experience pain in the face and neck. Other symptoms include locking of the jaw; stiffness in the jaw; as well as a shift in the alignment of the jaw and teeth.
What can I do about it?
In many cases, jaw pain resolves itself, so if you are experiencing any discomfort there are a few strategies you can try at home. We recommend that you eat a diet of soft foods to allow your jaw to rest — try blended and mashed fruits and vegetables, and avoid snacks that are particularly hard or chewy. Also, stay away from foods that require you to stretch your mouth, like whole fruits, for example.
Ice packs can be used to ease pain and reduce inflammation, while heat packs can also be helpful in reducing discomfort. There are also a number of jaw exercises that are worth trying — slow, gentle movements that work to stretch the muscles can help to increase mobility. Get in touch with us to arrange a consultation if you would like to know more about some appropriate jaw exercises.
For many people who suffer from TMD, relaxation techniques can also go a long way in relieving discomfort. Stress-relieving activities include yoga, meditation, breathing exercises, and behaviour modification therapy.
How can we help?
We will usually try non-surgical treatment options first, and we’ll begin by performing a thorough examination to evaluate the movement of your jaw. Once we have a precise diagnosis, we’ll consult with other healthcare professionals to come up with the best treatment plan for your needs. This may include changes to your diet; stress management; physiotherapy; medication; or even dental treatment, depending on the severity of your condition.
If surgery is necessary, we’ll discuss the options with you. We offer a number of surgical treatments, each of which has its own benefits. To find out about these procedures, have a look here.
If you have any questions about TMJ, and the treatments that we are able to provide, please contact us. Our team is experienced in all areas of maxillofacial surgery, and offer thorough diagnosis and treatment, as well as exceptional patient care. Each of our surgeons has their own special interest, so when you book a consultation, let us know how we can help, and we will refer you to the surgeon best suited to your case.
Want to find out more about our team? Learn about our surgeons here.