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  • Writer's pictureDr. Maryam Motlagh, D.M.D


Updated: Jan 29

Face and jaw pain can be excruciating. A sore jaw, facial pain, and chronic headaches may signal several health issues. But if you feel pain and stiffness around your jaw, you may suffer from a TMJ disorder.

The temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, is the hinge that opens and closes your jaw. This complex joint is a collection of muscles, ligaments, and bones that move your jaw forward, backward, and side to side. If it isn’t working correctly, you may suffer from various symptoms.

TMJ pain and stiffness can cause concern, especially if you have an upcoming dentist appointment. However, some self-care treatments enable you to see your dentist with confidence.

Aesthetic Smiles is the top TMJ and orofacial pain clinic in Portland, OR. You shouldn’t have to live with the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ.

Symptoms of TMJ

If you’re experiencing TMJ symptoms, you’re not alone. About 12% of the American population suffers from TMJ at any time. Here are common symptoms of TMJ disorders:

  • Pain or tenderness in the jaw joint

  • Headaches or pain in the face

  • Pain while chewing or painful biting

  • Lockjaw, where the jaw locks and won’t move

  • Dizziness

  • Hearing problems, ringing (tinnitus), or pain in or around your ear

Treatment Options for TMJ

There are many available treatment options for TMJ. You can begin with self-care at home, but you might still need to see your doctor later for further care.

Treating TMJ before a dentist appointment is possible. Here are some things you can try to ease your pain from TMJ from the comfort of your home:

Apply hot or cold compresses to your jaw.

Place moist hot or cold compresses on your jaw joint for about ten minutes daily. TMJ pain reacts favorably to hot and cold pain treatments.

The best part about this treatment for TMJ is that you can make the compresses from items you have right at home. All you need is a damp, wet washcloth, which you will hold to the affected area for a few minutes several times a day. If you prefer cold compresses, insert a few ice cubes in a washcloth or plastic zippered bag. Then, hold the ice against the painful part of your face or jaw for about five minutes. Reapply as needed to ease the pain and swelling.

Eat soft foods and avoid chewing gum.

Stick to soft foods to give your jaw a rest from intense chewing. For example, eat oatmeal, applesauce, yogurt, bananas, and mashed potatoes. Also, avoid chewing gum because it exerts your jaw muscles and increases pain.

Use anti-inflammatory medication.

You don’t need a doctor’s prescription to purchase anti-inflammatory drugs. These medications can ease jaw and facial pain that accompany TMJ disorders. Pain relievers and muscle relaxants also offer relief from pain and inflammation.

Make an appointment with a physical therapist.

Physical therapy can relieve the pain associated with TMJ. Therefore, a physical therapist can provide treatment options before considering seeing a doctor or dentist.

A physical therapist can show you stretches and massage techniques to help stretch and strengthen your jaw. They can also perform ultrasounds and evaluate behaviors to determine what’s causing your TMJ pain.

Learn and practice stress management techniques.

Stress management techniques are one of the best methods for treating TMJ pain before a dentist appointment. In addition, meditation is an excellent way to take deep, slow breaths to relax your body.

Stress management and relaxation techniques are effective because anxiety attacks trigger TMJ symptoms. In addition, learning to relax can prevent some of the acute symptoms of TMJ disorders.

Aesthetic Smiles Treats TMJ Syndrome

Aesthetic Smiles is the top TMJ and facial pain clinic in Portland and the surrounding area. We are your TMJ specialist and can provide treatment options to help you feel comfortable.

You don’t have to live with discomfort or struggle with anxiety before seeing your dentist. If you need help relieving TMJ pain and are looking for a botox dentist, we’re here to meet your needs. Contact us today to set up an appointment!

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