Tag Archives: TMJ pain

Is there an over-the-counter fix for TMJ?

My mom and dad have both recently suffered some major medical issues that have caused a lot of stress both physically and financially for our family. There’s just not a lot of extra money right now. I have TMJ and all the stress has caused a flare-up and I literally can’t open my mouth. My jaw has been locked for several weeks. I’m in so much pain! I’ve seen those mouth appliances you can buy at the drug store for about $20. Would one of them help? — Sasha

Dear Sasha,
Sorry to hear that you’re going through so much right now. Hopefully things will get better from here on out. As for the TMJ, there are a couple of things you can try at home to help with the inflammation:

  1. Alternate between heat and ice packs (for about 10 minutes at a time) on your jaw joints
  2. Take 800mg of Ibuprofen three times a day

If the dentist is simply out of the question right now, try the store-bought mouth guard as it will be better than doing nothing. If you’re grinding your teeth a lot, just be careful and check that you’re not wearing it through. Hopefully, though, it will help protect your teeth for now. They come in small, medium, large or one-size-fits-all, but regardless of what you buy, keep in mind that it won’t be a perfect fit since it’s not custom made.

For moderate to severe temporomandibular joint dysfunction like you are experiencing, a custom night guard made by your dentist is really the best way to go. If you have dental insurance they may cover all or even a portion of the cost. Make a call and find out. Another option would be to see if your dentist offers CareCredit. It’s a no-interest medical card you can apply for if you don’t have insurance, but have adequate credit. Check into both of these options since your TMJ is fairly severe – it will be worth it in the end if you can get a custom-fit appliance and get this flare-up under control.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

Could my new crown be making my TMJ pain worse?

I’ve been battling with TMJ problems for the past couple of years. Mostly, my jaw is just sore in the morning and it fades away as I go about my day. I know I should be wearing a night guard. My dentist told me I needed one and I still haven’t gotten it. But, here’s the thing – I had a crown done about two weeks ago and it didn’t feel right from the start. I mentioned it to my dentist and he made some adjustments, but I could still feel it hitting the tooth above it first. My dentist said he’d adjusted it as much as he could and that I will get used to it. My TMJ pain is even worse than usual since getting the crown. Could the two be related? — Marcella

Marcella,
Making sure the teeth come together properly requires intricate knowledge of the jaw and anatomy. When there are bite problems, like those caused by an ill-fitting crown, it can certainly exacerbate an existing TMJ issue or even cause one to start.

Unfortunately, a lot of dentists fail to realize this and they don’t take additional training to ensure they’re getting it right. Some will just make repeated adjustments to their work until a patient stops complaining, and others will reduce the restoration down so much that it doesn’t connect with the tooth it bites against at all.

The bottom line is that yes, you need to get your night guard made. Your TMJ problems are going to progress until you get the nighttime grinding under control. However, the crown is probably contributing to the problem right now and it needs to be corrected. It’s not a matter of getting used to it. Although you may become accustomed to biting incorrectly or moving your mouth differently so that it doesn’t bother you so much, it will still put undue stress on your joints. Keep working with your dentist to get it corrected. If you hit a point where it’s not getting resolved and he’s unwilling to help, get a consultation with another dentist who specializes in TMJ issues and understands occlusion.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

Does pregnancy make TMJ worse?

I’ve been a TMJ sufferer for many years. After numerous doctors and treatments I felt I had the pain management under control. Now, I am pregnant and I’m having constant TMJ pain. Does pregnancy make TMJ worse? — Amy in Texas

Amy,
Dealing with TMJ is tough, especially during pregnancy. Women with preexisting pain conditions like temporomandibular joint disorder often report experiencing more pain flare-ups during pregnancy. While a specific link between pregnancy and TMJ hasn’t been found there are some possible causes of increased pain during pregnancy. Pregnancy is usually a happy time, however, anyone who has been pregnant knows that pregnancy automatically comes with increased stress — which leads to clenching and grinding of teeth, and that can cause headaches, jaw pain, and tooth damage. In addition, your body drains resources to nourish the baby. A large amount of vitamins and minerals go to the baby’s development, which could make mom deficient. Certain mineral deficiencies such as calcium and magnesium can cause TMJ flare ups. That’s why its even more important to eat right and take your prenatal vitamins. Another reason you may experience extra TMJ pain during pregnancy is the ever changing center of gravity. As your body grows and expands, your body may adapt by changing your posture. Posture changes can definitely be related to increased TMJ pain.

You may find your TMJ pain decreases after the baby is born, or even as your pregnancy progresses and your body adapts. Both ice and heat work well at home. Massages can be useful for temporary and transitory TMJ. If home care doesn’t help alleviate some discomfort, make sure you make an appointment with your dentist.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.