Scotts Valley TMJ Dentists Share Best Practices to Relieve Jaw Pain

Categories: TMJ/TMD


Experiencing jaw pain for the first time or regularly can be frustrating. The sensations that radiate from your jaw could be due to jaw muscle strain or temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). TMJ is a condition that can cause neck pain, headaches, earaches, or shoulder strain. The symptoms often urge people to seek medical treatment, but your dentist is the best qualified medical professional to diagnose and treat TMJ. Therefore, the Scotts Valley TMJ dentists at Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry share best practices to relieve jaw pain so that you can get on with your life.

What causes TMJ?

There are multiple reasons why you could suffer from TMJ pain. From a jaw injury to poor oral health habits, TMJ can develop and demand medical attention. For patients who have arthritis, the temporomandibular joint is another location in the body where the condition can attack and cause pain. Also, patients who clench and grind their teeth (bruxism) may develop TMJ pain due to the intense pressure.

How can I manage TMJ symptoms?

For some TMJ cases, self-management techniques may help relieve discomfort and tense jaw muscles until you see a Scotts Valley TMJ dentist for long-term relief. However, if the symptoms increase and cause a disturbance in your daily activities, you need to seek professional medical help for your condition. Outlined below are some temporary ways to relieve TMJ pain so you could get through your day until you visit our office for a thorough examination.

While these remedies may provide relief temporarily, the Los Gatos TMJ dentists can help you manage your jaw pain for the long-term.

  • Use Moist Heat – Doctors regularly recommend moist heat to heal joint injuries. TMJ pain is also relieved when using a hot water bottle wrapped in a warm, damp cloth and placed on your jaw. However, exercise caution when using moist heat as it can burn your skin.
  • Apply Ice – Applying ice is often a way to reduce inflammation and pain. Using a plastic bag or store-bought ice pack, place ice cubes inside, and apply it to your jaw joints. You may find that covering the ice pack with a thin, soft cloth is more comfortable and protects against skin damage. Leave the ice pack on your jaw joint for about 10 – 15 minutes and repeat the ice session every hour.
  • Consume Soft Foods – While you are in pain, it may be easier to eat soft or blended foods to reduce the chewing motion associated with eating. Your jaw can relax while eating soft foods instead of the strenuous multiple muscle movements that occur while consuming hard, crunchy foods or chewy meats like steak.
  • Medications – You may take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine to help relieve the pain when it becomes unbearable, as long as it is medically safe for you to do so.
  • Jaw Exercises – Although there are various treatments for TMJ pain, jaw exercises can help relieve jaw pain. The simple and smooth movements that your dentist shares with you may seem silly, but the exercises can provide a much-needed relief from pain.
  • Relax Facial Muscles – TMJ often begins because of high levels of tension. Resting your jaw with space between your teeth and your lips closed can help reduce painful sensations. Also, when using slow and deep breaths, you can reduce your stress level and body tension.

What are the available professional treatment options for TMJ?

With extensive knowledge of the temporomandibular joint, the TMJ dentists in Santa Cruz offer multiple long-term treatment options to help relieve your TMJ pain. Traditional oral appliance therapy can help properly align your jaw and reduce the strain on the temporomandibular joint. The oral appliance can help relieve pressure on your jaw if you clench or grind your teeth at night. You can also experience relief through neuromuscular functional orthodontics, which includes a series of exercises that help your jaw function naturally and pain-free.

TMJ Dentists in Los Gatos, Santa Cruz, and Scotts Valley, California

Pain caused by TMJ is challenging to work through while completing your daily to-do list. When you regularly feel jaw pain or wake up with consistent headaches, you must seek medical attention before the symptoms become unbearable. Therefore, if you want long-term relief from TMJ pain or need to schedule an appointment with a doctor in Scotts Valley that diagnoses TMJ disorder, feel free to contact Ebrahimian Integrative Dentistry at (831) 438-4411 or request an appointment online.