What Can I Do To Treat My TMD?

If you have TMD (temporomandibular disorder) http://www.smileworkscalgary.com/by-mr-smiles/do-i-have-tmd/ you might feel like you may never get over of the fatigue, stress and/or pain. The good news is there are successful treatments for TMD ranging from relaxation techniques to custom made dental appliances.  

Self-care for TMD:

  1. Cool or warm compresses (whichever feels better) to help ease sore jaw muscles. Carefully apply a cool compress to the affected area to ease the pain or a warm cloth to help gain movement in your jaw area.
  2. Eat soft foods that minimize chewing or opening your mouth wide, a protein shake or nutrient rich meal replacement drinks; this is a temporary approach for acute pain.
  3. Reduce singing, yelling and yawning while your TMJ is healing.
  4. Avoid chewing gum or eating sunflower seeds, as these actions require repetitive actions that may aggravate the muscle, (follow your health care providers advice- they may ask you to exercise or stretch your jaw)
  5. Avoid pressure on your jaw, remember to hold your head up instead of resting your chin on your hand, pillow, or partner.
  6. Use your tongue as a reminder to keep your teeth slightly apart; this will help keep you from clenching and grinding, especially during exercise.
  7. Try to relax! Warm baths, a long walk, listening to soft music and breathing exercises can help. Remind yourself to check to see if your jaw is relaxed when going to sleep. Clenching your teeth can be an unnoticed habit.

Dental Treatments:

Your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth and jaw and perform tests including x-rays to determine whether you have TMD. A treatment plan will be prepared for you that may include:

  1. A fitting for a dental night guard to help keep you from grinding your teeth and further aggravating your jaw pain, this is helpful while you sleep
  2. A sport mouth appliance if you grit your teeth when exerting yourself playing sports or at work
  3. Pain medication, to help ease the symptoms and experience temporary comfort
  4. A referral to a physiotherapist or a chiropractor to help you ease muscle pain and correct misalignment
  5. A behavioral therapist may be suggested to help find ways to deal with stress and help calm the tension in your body

Remember that the pain from TMD will usually resolve in time. Your dental team can help you to be as pain free as possible while reducing your jaw pain.