Temporomandibular joint dysfunction
The temporomandibular (TMJ) joint is responsible for allowing people to speak and eat comfortably; overuse of this joint can result in a variety of illnesses known as temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD).
- The TMJ is the body’s most utilized joint.
- Teeth clenching and grinding might cause minor issues due to mental stress or worry.
- This can cause joint discomfort, chewing muscle spasms, migraines, and neck pain.
- Trauma to the lower jaw can induce fast shearing of the joint, requiring treatment.
The TMJ connects the lower jaw to the skull base. Muscles and ligaments around the joint allow it to move. The TMJ is aligned and functions properly when the surrounding muscles and ligaments are healthy.
TMD can develop from your child’s TMJ overuse. High levels of tension or anxiety, grinding or clenching of the teeth, or jaw damage can induce this over-exertion.
This is a frequent issue that may be handled at home. Severe TMD may need physical therapy, dental work, or surgery.
Symptoms and signs
The following are some of the signs and symptoms of TMJ:
- face or jaw muscle soreness is a common complaint.
- When chewing, talking, or yawning, you may experience localized pain.
- edema in the area around the injured joint
- earache, tinnitus, or hearing loss is all possible symptoms.
- When the joints move, there is a grating, clicking, or popping sound.
- a weird or unequal bite — the sensation that the teeth are not properly fitting together.
- During the process of opening, the jaw is pushed to one side.
- The jaw is either open or closed via a locking mechanism.
- ache in the neck or back
- Having difficulty swallowing
The reason for a TMJ disorder is not always clear. However, there are a number of causes that might cause symptoms:
- injury to the head or jaw, such as a knock to the skull
- Tooth grinding (bruxism) or jaw clenching (odontophobia).
- dental issues that cause teeth to be misaligned
- chewing too much (e.g. gum or fingernails)
- the excessive bottom-jaw forward push
- Eating a lot of food that strains the jaw joint
- abnormalities of the joints
- There is no overbite
A few easy home remedies might help reduce the symptoms of TMJ issues. TMJ problems can often be alleviated via self-care:
- As much as possible, keep the jaw relaxed.
- Consume soft foods.
- Reduce the amount of time spent chewing gum.
- Don’t clench your teeth excessively (e.g. yawning, shouting, singing).
- Relax your jaw muscles using stress management strategies.
- Warm and cold compresses should be used.
- Use pain relievers that reduce inflammation, such as ibuprofen or aspirin (children under the age of 16 should not be given aspirin because of an uncommon but serious consequence known as Reye’s syndrome). Use anti-inflammatory medications.
- Do whatever exercises your doctor recommends for your jaw.
Be on the lookout for any triggers that may bring on symptoms of TMJ issues.
- Reduce your habit of chewing gum or biting your nails.
- Avoid meals that are hard or chewy.
- Your jaw should be more relaxed.
- Take a few minutes each day to do some light jaw stretching and relaxation.
- Support your lower jaw as you yawn.
- Splints for occasional usage are available from your dentist if you feel you are clenching or grinding your teeth at sleep.
Exercise your jaw
Exercises for the jaw might help you get more mobility in your joints. Several types of jaw exercises can be done in conjunction with one another to help reduce pain:
- Stretch exercises
- Strengthening exercises
- Relaxation exercises
Avoid participating in certain activities and eating specific foods.
When you engage in certain activities or consume certain meals, you may find yourself opening your mouth forcibly or moving your jaw in an exaggerated manner. Try to stay away from the following:
- Shouting are both acceptable expressions.
- Foods that are crunchy or hard
- Taking huge chunks out of your meal
- Foods that need a significant chewing period
Ensure that your posture is in proper alignment.
Long lengths of time spent hunched over a desk in an uncomfortable position might exacerbate existing jaw discomfort.
Choose a chair with back support and take frequent breaks to enhance your posture while you’re at work. Set your seat as straight as possible while driving and while watching TV or reading, and position a cushion behind your back for support while doing these activities.
To improve your posture whether sitting or standing, the following exercise is recommended: Straighten your back muscles by raising your chest bone, pulling your shoulders back, and lightly squeezing your shoulder blades.
Get a good night’s sleep
Many facets of good health are dependent on a good night’s sleep.
TMJ discomfort can be alleviated if you sleep on your back and use cushions to keep your neck in an upright position. It is best to avoid sleeping on your stomach, and if you must sleep on your side, avoid placing your hand over your jaw.
Utilize a cold or hot compress.
Ice reduces swelling and discomfort, while heat relaxes your jaw muscles by increasing blood flow.
For 15 to 20 minutes at a time, place a thin layer of compresses on your jaw and hold them there.
Reduce your stress
Practicing meditation might help loosen and relax your jaw.
Gardening is a terrific way to quiet your thoughts and relax your face, and yoga techniques may assist alleviate muscular tension.