tmj face jaw painThe temporomandibular joint is the joint that connects your jawbone (mandible) to the sides of your skull.

You need your temporomandibular joint to open your mouth, close your mouth, yawn, talk and chew.

When your TMJ is sore or inflamed, you can have pain in the jaw, teeth malalignment, or a clicking sensation in the side of your face when you open or close your mouth.

Home Remedies for the Treatment of TMJ Jaw Pain

There are things you can do at home to relieve the pain in your jaw so that you don’t necessarily have to see a doctor in order to have pain relief.  These include the following:

  • Apply heat or cold to the affected area. You can use a regular ice pack and apply it to the sides of the face, near where your temple is located. Apply the ice for about ten minutes and practice some basic jaw exercises as taught to you by the physical therapist or dentist.  After your jaw is stretched, you can apply a hot, moist towel or a heating pad to the side of the face. Do this for about 5 minutes.  This procedure can be done several times a day for pain relief.
  • Use a TENS unit. A TENS unit can safely help ease the pain in your jaw. A drug free treatment.
  • Use Nonsteroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs. You can use NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (marketed as Motrin and Advil) or naproxen sodium (marketed as Naprosyn or Aleve).  They relieve the inflammation in the joints and muscles, and take down swelling.  Aspirin can also be used to treat the pain. (Always consult a doctor before taking any drugs.)
  • Chew on soft food. Instead of eating hard or chewy foods, try things like cottage cheese, mashed potatoes, fish, cooked fruits, cooked vegetables, cooked grains, and yogurt. Foods like this will go easy on the joint so it won’t cause sharp pain when eating.  Try to take small bites so that you don’t widely open your jaw.
  • Never rest your chin on a table or your hand. This means not putting your chin on a hard surface nor holding the phone between your ear and shoulder.  Good facial posture can help relieve the TMJ pain.
  • Don’t do extreme movements of the jaw. Chewing on ice or gum can jar the joint and a big yawn can cause your TMJ to lock up.  Don’t do anything that allows your mouth to open widely, such as singing or yelling.
  • Learn relaxation therapies. When you learn how to relax your jaw, it will put less pressure on your temporomandibular joint.  You can learn relaxation techniques, including biofeedback and meditation, from the physical therapist or dentist.
  • Keep your teeth parted from one another. This can be done by putting your tongue on the root of your mouth so as to keep your jaw from clenching or your teeth from grinding during the daytime hours. At night, you can use a splint to keep your teeth separated.

Doctor or Dentist Treatments for TMJ Jaw Pain

Here are some things you might expect as part of the treatment your doctor or dentist might recommend for TMJ jaw pain:

  • A night guard or splint. These are plastic devices that fit over your top and bottom teeth so they don’t touch each other. They decrease the chances that you will grind your teeth or clench your teeth during sleep.  They are mostly used at night so you don’t have TMJ jaw pain in the morning.  They also keep your teeth in good alignment.
  • Stronger medication. The dentist will be able to prescribe a stronger NSAID medication to relieve the inflammation, swelling, and pain in the TMJ joint.  A muscle relaxant can also relieve muscle spasm near the joint.  If stress is part of your problem, the dentist or doctor may prescribe an anxiolytic medication to lessen your perception of stress.  Tricyclic antidepressants can also be prescribed for pain relief.
  • The dentist can work on your teeth. If you have teeth missing or other teeth problems that affect the bite, the dentist can fix these so that mouth causes of TMJ joint pain can be relieved.
  • Dry Mouth
  • Healthy Mouth Evaluator
  • Mouth Sores
  • Orthodontics
  • Signs of Gum Disease
  • Teeth Grinding
  • Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)

How do you ease your TMJ pain? Feel free to share below.