How to Relieve TMJ Pain

TMJ La Jolla

Millions of Americans have TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder, but a high percentage of them choose to suffer in silence from chronic pain in their jaw muscles. It does not need to be this way! Our expert dentists — Drs. Jaime Breziner, David Vazquez, and Yael Kandinov — have helped many patients to overcome the symptoms of TMJ. Below, they share several of their best suggestions for managing the condition.

Use Hot or Cold Compress

Studies have found that most TMJ patients find at least some pain relief when they apply ice packs and heating pads to their face. The key is to limit the use to 15 minutes at a time. If you still need relief, switch between cold and hot temperatures to avoid harming your skin from prolonged exposure.

Modify Your Diet

Crunchy foods may be fun to eat, but they also require extra movement from your jaw. The more you chew, the more likely your jaw is to experience pain. Boil or steam your vegetables so that you do not need to bite as hard. Prioritize soft foods like soup, rice, pasta, yogurt, tuna, and eggs, especially on days when your jaw is already sore.

Pain Medication

Usually, over-the-counter medication does the trick. You’ll probably find more relief from ibuprofen (Advil) than acetaminophen (Tylenol) because it also fights the inflammation that can exacerbate your pain. In the most serious cases of TMJ, a patient may need to speak to a dentist about prescription options like corticosteroids or muscles relaxants for adequate relief.

Sleep with a Nightguard

In many cases, TMJ pain is the consequence of bruxism (teeth grinding) or clenching during the night. At La Jolla Family Smile Design, we offer oral appliances that you can wear at night. These appliances — custom designed to fit your mouth so that you can sleep comfortably — allow you to avoid grinding your teeth. As a result, you may wake up without jaw pain in the morning.

Perform Jaw Exercises

You may also find some relief with a course of jaw exercises. These exercises can improve the strength and mobility of your jaw muscles and help them to relax while at rest. Our dentists can teach you these exercises at a dental appointment, and then you can repeat them at home for maximum effect.

It’s Time to Tackle Your Pain

If you have suffered from TMJ and are ready to address this persistent discomfort, the excellent dentists at La Jolla Family Smile Design are available to help you. They will devise a systematic treatment plan to provide you relief. Surgery is only necessary in the most advanced cases. To make an appointment, please call (858) 454-3044.