The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects your jawbone to your skull on both sides of your jaw. Like any other joint in your body, TMJ is prone to various complications that can render it dysfunctional. This dysfunction of the TMJ results in jaw pain, discomfort, difficulty opening or closing your mouth, difficulty chewing, and a locked jaw.
Since TMJ disorders (TMD) can cause a significant disruption in your life, it is important to seek treatment immediately. There are many forms of TMJ treatments that you can choose for your disorder. However, there has been a considerable debate about the effectiveness of some of these treatments. That’s why most doctors advise patients with TMD to seek conservative treatments. In this article, you will learn the various conservative TMJ treatments available.
Conservative TMJ Treatment Options
Until scientists and medical doctors discover the best treatment options for TMJ disorders, the best choice is to exercise caution and try the conservative remedies because they are less dramatic and risky. Here are some of the most common conservative treatment options for TMJ disorders.
Hot and Cold Ice Packs
In their latest research on the best treatment for TMJ disorders, the University of Wisconsin discovered that hot and cold ice pack therapy is one of the most effective treatments for TMJ disorders. The good this about this type of therapy is that it is not expensive or invasive. The National Institute has also approved it of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
Avoid Activities Risky Activities
Studies have also revealed that most injuries to the TMJ occur when you perform certain risky activities with your mouth. For instance, you will be putting excess pressure on your TMJ if you yawn too hard or chew gum continuously. Therefore, avoid chewing continuously or opening your mouth too wide when you yawn, sing, or laugh.
Learn to Relax Your Jaw
One of the reasons your TMJ may be at risk of becoming dysfunctional is a tight jaw, which causes pain and discomfort in your head, ears, face, neck, jaw, and teeth. Sadly, this sensation intensifies when you are chewing or yawning. Therefore, you should seek help from a medical professional to learn how to relax your jaw through massage and stretching.
Eating Soft Food
If your TMJ pain or discomfort flares up when you eat hard to chew foods, switch to soft foods until the joint heals. These foods include oatmeal, yogurt, eggs, soup, mashed potatoes, pasta, and many others.
Before deciding on the conservative TMJ treatments to use, it is important to seek a second opinion from a qualified medical doctor.