Temporomandibular dysfunction (TMD) refers to a diverse range of disorders that relate to muscular function in the jaw and face - the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). That could mean difficulty opening your mouth, pain in the jaw or face, or any sort of problem with the jaw joint.
TMD can be difficult to diagnose because of the varied causes. Whatever the case, an accurate diagnosis helps to make the treatment as successful as possible. The good news is that most often, jaw problems will resolve themselves within several weeks or months. Surgeries like arthrocentesis, arthroscopy, and open-joint surgery should be a last resort. More conservative and reversible treatments should come first and are in fact the most critical step in the treatment of TMD.
Less invasive treatments like acupuncture and splints can be helpful, but that will depend on each particular case. A combination of treatments will most often produce the greatest relief for TMJ patients. It's a good idea to avoid activities that overuse the jaws. such as chewing gum or clenching your jaws.
Being Proactive in finding relief for TMD can also be achieved by many home remedies:
- EAT SOFT FOODS: When you eat soft food, the jaw gets an opportunity to rest. Avoid chewy and crunchy food, and food that requires you to open your mouth wide, like apples or corn on the cob.
- APPLY MOIST HEAT: A hot water bottle wrapped in a moist towel can help reduce symptoms.
- RELAXATION: Actively try to relax the muscles of the face and lips, and let your teeth come apart.
- AVOID WIDE YAWNS: Keeping the fist under the jaw when a yawn is coming on, can help to keep the jaw from opening too widely.