It’s common knowledge that if your tooth hurts, you should visit your dentist, but did you know that you can also find relief from other chronic aches and pains at your dentist’s office, too? Frequent, severe headaches, earaches, jaw pain, and facial soreness can result from a number of different issues, and finding out exactly what’s behind your recurring discomfort can often be challenging. In many cases, the source can be traced to a functional dental problem that affects your jaws, but can be felt throughout your craniofacial structure. Recently, we discussed the mechanics of this dysfunction, called TMJ disorder, and the damage it can cause when left unchecked. Today, your Des Moines TMJ doctor, Dr. Burds, explains how you can ease your jaw discomfort at home until you can seek a professional diagnosis and treatment.
Tips for TMJ Relief at Home
- The causes behind TMJ disorder are numerous, but experts agree that one of the most significant risk factors is excessive stress, which is often manifested as physical muscle tension. If your jaw, head, ears, or face begin to hurt, gently massage the area directly in front of each of your ear, where the TMJs and their muscles are located. The massage should relax the muscles, relieving tension and discomfort in the process.
- The discomfort of TMJ disorder is often caused by damaged joints and muscles irritating the trigeminal nerve, which innervates your jaw. The nerve also branches through much of your head, neck, and face, hence the wide variety of symptoms that indicate jaw trouble. Applying heat to the area is another tried and true method of muscle relaxation. Use a heating pad or hot water bottle heated enough to be effective, but not enough to burn you.
- Learning to relax is a vital life skill, and can also help alleviate stress-related discomfort. Utilize relaxation techniques like meditation, controlled breathing, or yoga to help melt away the stress of your days. Physical exercise is also a time-honored stress-reliever. Whatever method you prefer, the key is to learn how to relax and decompress on a regular basis to avoid stress-related illnesses.
Dr. Stephen Burds, Des Moines Dentist and TMJ Doctor
Although you can take steps to lessen the impact of TMJ discomfort on your daily life, treating the condition will require a professional and accurate diagnosis and treatment plan. To learn more, or to find out if you have TMJ disorder, schedule a consultation with your Des Moines TMJ doctor by calling Gateway Dental Group at (515) 244-9565. Located in the 50309 area, we proudly welcome patients from Des Moines, River Bend, Kirkwood Glen, East Village, and neighboring communities.