What is TMJ?

Your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the hinge that moves your jaw up and down, allowing you to talk, chew, and yawn. Pain and stress on this joint are known as TMJ, although the correct term is actually referred to as a temporomandibular disorder or TMD.

Dysfunction in this joint can cause severe pain, difficulty moving your jaw and mouth, a locked jaw, swelling, and more. It can be caused by anything from whiplash and facial trauma to night clenching and stress. Although anyone can get TMJ, the majority of people affected by it are women between the ages of 18 and 44 years. TMJ treatment is complicated and requires a dentist specializing in TMJ, as improper treatment can be disastrous.

tmj teeth grinding

At-Home TMJ Solutions

Luckily, some people only have minor symptoms of TMJ, even though they are still uncomfortable. Before finding a dentist specializing in TMJ in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho for treatment, you can try a few home remedies first to see if you can manage it on your own. Here are some of the at-home TMJ treatments that have proven to be the most effective:

  • Massaging your jaw with your forefingers
  • Meditation and stress-reduction practices
  • Basic jaw exercises to strengthen and relieve tension
  • Either a hot or ice cold compress to soothe the pain
  • Calming essential oils such as lavender or chamomile
  • Only consuming soft foods (such as yogurt, oatmeal, or ice cream) to minimize the amount of stress on your jaw. This would involve avoiding chewing gum as well.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen and aspirin

    If none of these home remedies work for you, or the pain worsens, it will be time to see a dentist specializing in TMJ treatment in Albuquerque and Rio Rancho.

    How to Treat TMJ

    For those who are suffering from TMJ teeth grinding, a mouth guard or oral splint will be helpful. Your TMJ dentist in Albuquerque or Rio Rancho will make an impression of your teeth and, within a few days, bring you back in to try on your new night guard. These mouth guards will help prevent TMJ teeth grinding and thus reduce the amount of stress being put on your jaw and facial muscles. Other forms of TMJ treatment include stronger medications, such as muscle relaxants, botox, or tricyclic antidepressants. Although the latter is obviously used as an antidepressant, researchers have found that it is also helpful in reducing inflammation in the jaw. Dentists specializing in TMJ may also recommend oral therapy to act as TMJ treatment. They can refer you to a specialist or teach you certain exercises themselves. Psychological therapy has also shown to help those suffering from TMJ as they can determine the cause of their stress and work towards healing their mental state. Mental stress is directly correlated with the muscle stress which causes TMJ. Cottonwood Dental has a long history of experience in TMJ treatment in Rio Rancho and Albuquerque. Our approach is patient-specific and has a high success rate. We also offer Botox for TMJ treatments. If you or a loved one is struggling with TMJ in Albuquerque or Rio Rancho, please contact us to schedule an appointment by calling (505) 210-7884.