If you experience chronic pain in your jaw, especially at the corner of your mouth, you may suffer from TMJ syndrome. TMJ syndrome occurs when the temporomandibular joints in your jaw cause you pain. This pain can be brought on and exacerbated by many factors. If you think you have TMJ syndrome, here are five things you need to do:
1. Visit your dentist.
If you think you have TMJ syndrome, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist. Dentists don't only take care of a patient's teeth; they also help maintain the health of the soft tissues in the mouth and surrounding structures. A TMJ dentist can diagnose you after careful examination. They may ask you to open and close your mouth several times to look for abnormalities in the range of motion in your jaw. They may also want to take X-rays to check for bone damage.
2. Take painkillers.
TMJ syndrome can cause a significant amount of pain. You can lessen the discomfort and also reduce any swelling by taking NSAIDs. NSAIDs are available over the counter, and they also have anti-inflammatory properties. Using painkillers as directed can relieve some of the pain associated with TMJ syndrome. If you have severe pain that isn't alleviated by nonprescription options, your dentist may write you a prescription for alternative painkillers to make you more comfortable.
3. Perform self-care.
There are things you can do to alleviate your TMJ syndrome. Your dentist may recommend some of them. Chewing sugarfree gum can allow you to stretch your jaw. While chewing may initially be uncomfortable, sticking with it can lessen your pain over time. You may also want to perform self-massage over the tender parts of your jaw. Rub in firm but gentle circles over your TMJ. Stop if you feel any sharp pain, but don't be afraid to continue if you feel a mild to moderate ache while massaging the muscles in your jaw.
4. Wear a mouthguard.
Custom mouthguards can help people with TMJ syndrome. Mouthguards can reduce nocturnal teeth grinding, which can exacerbate your symptoms. Your dentist can have a mouthguard custom made for you out of durable plastic.
5. Consider alternative procedures.
If your TMJ syndrome isn't relieved by these treatments, you may need alternative procedures. Steroid injections in your TMJ can reduce swelling and pain. In more severe cases, your dentist may recommend surgery to fix your joint. TMJ surgery is minimally invasive. It's usually performed using an arthroscopic tool which can allow your dentist to make the smallest incision possible.