Facing acute to severe pain in the lower jaw while chewing, smiling, and communicating is not a rare ailment nowadays.
In accordance with the discussion from National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research United States, TMJ defect is a prevalent joint disorder. According to this institute, about 10 million Americans are affected by TMJ disorders.
Every third person faces pain in their jaw during their lifetime. This pain is always associated with the temporomandibular joint, attaching the lower jaw to the rest of the skull.
The defect in the temporomandibular joint leading to sharp pain can be due to several reasons, most probably due to jaw injuries.
Also, many treatments are available to cure this pain, but there are chances of TMJ pain reoccurring. This can be troublesome for the patient.
Let’s start the topic on how to prevent TMJ pain from recurring and how to cure temporomandibular joint permanently.
As usual, I will start with what, why and common causes of temporomandibular joint pain, however you can jump directly to the discussion on permanent cure from TMJ pain.
Temporomandibular Joint Defect Leads To Pain: What Does It Mean?
The lower jaw loses its connection with the skull if there is a malfunction or defect in the temporomandibular joint or in the muscles that support this joint.
Furthermore, the jaws become incapable of chewing food while eating. Even just a little movement of jaws, like smiling and talking, becomes difficult.
This situation always results in pain arising in the lower jaws, with the intensity ranging from acute to sharp. Sometimes, this pain is too intense to bear and needs immediate medical attention.
What Are The Causes For TMJ Defect ?
Accidents mainly damaging the jaws are the main reason for malfunctioning and dislocating the temporomandibular joints. Other reasons leading to TMJ disorders are as follows:
- Bad oral hygiene can cause loss of strength of the TMJ disc to grasp the lower jaw. This weak attachment of the skull with the jaw restricts smooth facial movements.
- Aging results in arthritis or loss of elasticity of the TMJ. Reduced flexibility makes it difficult to move jaws deliberately. It hinders jaws from aiding in chewing and speaking.
- Facial surgery, including the modifications in the joints, can also lead to TMJ defects. Most probably, jaw joints are affected in facial surgeries, which negatively impacts TMJ.
- Genetics can also be a reason for TMJ defects. There is a chance that the progeny will also suffer from TMJ pain if someone in the family does.
- Sometimes, defect in TMJ is not very severe. But a person’s sleep habits, such as grinding and clenching their teeth, may exacerbate the situation.
The reasons mentioned above are the common reasons that negatively impact TMJ. There may be many other causes that might lead to TMJ disorder.
How to Diagnose Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ Defect?
If you are facing continuous sharp pain in your jaws, you must go for a temporomandibular joint diagnosis. Make an appointment with your dentist and get your teeth and gums examined.
After a physical examination of your oral health, the dentist will inspect the mouth for a 3D X-ray inspection. This inspection provides a complete image of the teeth, jaws, muscles, bones, and joints attaching the oral components and aiding in smooth facial movements.
A deep inspection can allow dentists to examine smaller areas, such as facial tissues and nerves.
The dentist will know about the actual issue after reviewing the symptoms and understanding the medical condition of the mouth derived from an X-ray examination. He will then recommend a treatment plan.
How to Cure Temporomandibular Joint Pain Permanently?#
Here are some efficient methods that can help you not just relieving TMJ pain, but also to get rid of Temporomandibular Joint problems permanently.
Exercising the jaws is the most effective method to cure TMJ defects permanently. Exercise that stretches the jaw joints is usually efficient in treating TMJ pain.
Below are some healthiest exercises that can aid you in getting rid of jaw pain. But you must consult your doctor before adopting anyone.
Resisted Closing: In this exercise, thumbs and index fingers are used to close the mouth while straining the chin.
- With your thumbs under your chin, place your index fingers between the ridge of your mouth and the bottom of your chin.
- As you close the mouth, lightly press the chin with your fingers.
Resisted Opening: This exercise includes forcing the chin while keeping the mouth open. Follow the below-mentioned steps to cure TMJ pain.
- Put your fingers under your chin and press while gently opening your mouth.
- Slowly close your mouth after holding it for at least five seconds.
Chin Tucks: This exercise involves the movement of the chin. Follow the below-mentioned steps to cure TMJ pain:
- Make sure your chest is up and your shoulders are back.
- Make a double chin by pulling your chin back.
- Take a few seconds to hold.
- Make sure to repeat the exercise several times.
Side-to-side Jaw Movement: Move your jaws from right to left and left to right. This will help in strengthening the jaw muscles.
Other Exercises: You can also visit a physiotherapist for guidance on appropriate facial exercises and those mentioned above. These exercises usually involve:
- Forward jaw movement
- Tongue-up exercise
- Goldfish exercises (partial & full opening)
- Specific massages
Grinding and clenching the teeth during sleep and daily activities can worsen TMJ pain. Custom-made oral splints are devices specifically made to prevent teeth clenching. It usually fits between the upper and lower jaws and protects teeth and jaws from collapsing.
Using custom-made splints means you are not putting pressure on jaw muscles and temporomandibular joint thesis way; the joint will have time to rest and recover from its distressed condition. You should always continue using these splints even if you have fully recovered from TMJ pain.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation is usually done to relieve the pain due to TMJ defect.
It is a non-invasive therapy that includes sending low-voltage electric shocks to temporomandibular joint. Electric shock travels through the nerves and alleviates the pain.
Keep in mind that there is a lack of a complete understanding of this therapy’s effectiveness and working principle in curing temporomandibular joint permanently, or even fixing TMJ defects.
Arthroscopy is the last option for curing the TMJ defect if no other method works. In this method, surgeons fix the exact position of the disc in TMJ through surgery.
Arthroscopy is also an effective method of relieving TMJ pain but is not usually recommended. It is because it is an invasive method involving rupturing facial tissues and blood vessels.
There are several treatments available for curing TMJ pain. They are, however, always associated with recurrence risk. In case you are also experiencing pain due to a TMJ defect, you should know how to cure temporomandibular joint pain permanently.
The best way to permanently treat TMJ pain is to perform regular exercises, including facial bones and muscle movements. Using an oral splint provides an advantage in relieving pain by lowering pressure on the TMJ.
An arthroscopy is the last surgical option available to fix the temporomandibular joint. After treating TMJ pain, avoid eating hard foods and maintain good oral hygiene. It will reduce the risk of recurrence.