The joint between the lower jawbone and the skull is called the temporomandibular joint. Any injury or damage to this joint can result in TMJ disorder. Anyone experiencing TMJ will have slight to excruciating pain and find it difficult to open the mouth. Sometimes eating also becomes a demanding task. Teeth clenching and grinding are the main causes of TMJ pain. But don’t worry too much as with appropriate treatment and care, it is possible to cure TMJ disorder permanently.
The first step towards treating TMJ pain is stopping anything that adds stress to the joint, including clenching and grinding of teeth. When having pain in the temporomandibular joint, eat soft and easy to chew foods. This will take away the pressure from TMJ that biting on something hard requires.
Here are 4 ways to permanently cure TMJ:
Custom-made splints are designed to fit over your lower and upper teeth perfectly. They prevent teeth clenching or grinding by acting like a protective layer between your teeth. This gives rest to the joints, helping them cure without any interruption.
One thing to note here is the usage of splints. Don’t stop wearing them once the pain and discomfort get better. Use it for a few more days to aid joint healing. To stop putting pressure on the treated joint, eat soft food items for 2 to 3 days more before returning to your favorite meals.
For some patients, exercises that stretch the jaw can help alleviate TMJ ache and begin the process to cure it permanently. Here are some effective exercises to eliminate TMJ symptoms. But it’s good to discuss with a doctor before starting this therapy. If any exercise seems to worsen the ache, immediately stop it and consult a physical therapist.
This exercise focuses on straining the chin while closing the mouth with the help of thumbs and index fingers.
The first step is putting your thumbs beneath the chin and positioning the index fingers between the mouth’s ridge and bottom side of the chin. Now using the fingers apply minor pressure to the chin while you close the mouth.
Like forced closing, you can pressurize the chin while opening the mouth. This exercise is also effective in minimizing the pain and discomfort due to TMJ.
Gently open your mouth while exerting slight pressure with your fingers placed under the chin. Hold it for at least 5 seconds, and then slowly close the mouth.
Side-to-side jaw movement
This exercise focuses on jaw movement from left to right side and vise versa, making the muscles stronger.
Pull your chest upwards and shoulders backward. Now pull your chin back and form a “double chin.” Hold for 2-3 seconds. Repeat the exercise multiple times.
For this, open and close your mouth while your tongue touches the mouth’s roof. Do this several times.
Other helpful exercises include:
- Forward jaw movement (H3)
- Goldfish exercises (partial & full opening) (H3)
Other than the above exercises, acupuncture and specific massages can also help cure TMJ permanently. It is best to visit a physiotherapist before starting any exercise. Otherwise, you may end up worsening your pain.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
This is a non-invasive method to relieve TMJ pain and improve the functioning of the jaw. However, to state the effectiveness of this treatment, more research is needed.
This therapy involves sending low-voltage electric shocks to the painful area. Common mode current is placed in the sore area, and electric currents travel through nerves to relieve the ache and discomfort.
Surgery for TMJ is termed arthroscopy. This is the last option to cure TMJ permanently but is not advised by many experts due to its invasiveness. During the procedure, the surgeon positions the joints to correct positions and resolve other issues related to the joint.
Schedule an appointment
If you have TMJ pain, never ignore this situation, as leaving things untreated can worsen the condition, and things can become irreversible. Consult a TMJ dentist and get proper treatment. Make sure to follow the care instructions by your doctor and revisit if the pain continues or worsens.