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Is there a Natural Way to Treat TMJ Disorder

LAKE FOREST AND LAKE BLUFF IL

Temporomandibular joint or TMJ disorder affects many people and can exhibit a variety of symptoms. Patients suffering from TMJ disorder often report chronic and intermittent pain that can interrupt their day or be so bad that it prevents them from doing their usual activities. TMJ disorder may cause pain in your jaw joints when your mouth is at rest or when opening your mouth to take a bite or chew. Unfortunately, this can hinder your ability to eat nutritious foods. And those dealing with chronic pain may experience a depressive-like mood because they’re always in too much pain to go anywhere or spend time with friends and family. Thankfully, there are ways to manage TMJ disorder and its symptoms. Today on the blog, Lake Forest Smiles answers the question, is there a natural way to treat TMJ disorder?

Pain-relieving medications are often the first thing most TMJ sufferers go to in hopes of relieving their pain. For some people, over-the-counter medication may help relieve their discomfort, while others may go to their doctor for something stronger. Unfortunately, pain medication only masks the pain and does not treat the cause of your pain. This is where consulting with a Lake Forest TMJ dentist can help end your suffering without using medication. Keep reading if you’re interested in learning more about natural remedies for TMJ disorder.

What causes TMJ disorder?

TMJ disorder or jaw joint pain is caused by a bite imbalance. This means that your teeth do not come together evenly, exerting excess pressure on one side of your jaw. You may not notice that your bite is off, but over time, the jaw joint becomes irritated and inflamed, and blood flow is restricted. It’s kind of like continuing to walk on a sprained ankle. Eventually, without treatment, the condition worsens, the pain lingers, and you could end up damaging soft tissue, ligaments, and nerves.

The first step in treating TMJ disorder is relieving stress and pressure on the joint to begin healing. Here are a few changes you can make to help reduce tension in the jaw joints.

Watch what you eat

You should avoid eating hard-to-chew foods, like tough, crusty bread, steak, and raw, crunchy veggies for a little while. At least long enough to release jaw joint tension and reduce inflammation. However, you can still receive adequate nutrition by eating fruits and veggies cooked or in a smoothie and softer meats that are easier to chew. 

Reduce your stress

Stress can cause you to clench and grind your teeth unknowingly while you sleep. Unfortunately, it can lead to TMJ disorder or exacerbate the condition. Therefore, try to relieve stress by spending some time each day to unwind and decompress from work or your usual activities. It may be helpful to meditate, take a walk, or soak in the bath to help calm your mind and body.

Acupuncture and gentle massage

Multiple studies indicate that acupuncture is a helpful pain reliever. Using tiny needs inserted at specific locations in the body, acupuncture helps by reducing muscle spasms and relaxing muscle strain, which can be useful when treating TMJ disorder. Additionally, massaging the jaw joint area can be helpful in reducing tension and stress and encouraging blood flow to the area to promote healing.

Apply a hot and cold compress

An all-natural method of reducing pain and inflammation is by alternating hot and cold compresses. Alternate compresses every 15 minutes, and apply them as often as you need throughout the day.

Natural TMJ Treatment in Lake Forest

Perhaps one of the most notable natural remedies for TMJ disorder is oral appliance therapy. Using a custom-made oral appliance, the dentist designs it to hold your jaw in proper alignment. But don’t worry. The oral appliance is comfortable to wear and can be adjusted by your dentist to fit your changing TMJ needs. When worn each night, the jaw experiences pressure release, which relaxes soft tissue, and helps promote healing of the joint. Within no time, you’ll notice that your symptoms improve, and you no longer have to rely on medication for TMJ relief.

If you would like to explore natural ways to relieve TMJ disorder in Lake Forest or need to schedule a TMJ disorder consultation in Lincolnshire, please contact Lake Forest Smiles at (847) 234-4800 or visit our website to schedule an appointment.

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