Symptoms of TMJ Flare Up
TMJ disorder has numerous symptoms such as pain, clicking, and popping of the jaw, limited range, or a locked jaw. All of which can make individuals life more challenging. TMJ is a joint problem that involves the temporomandibular joint in your jaw. The joint is what connects your skull and the lower jaw. One of the most common questions individuals with the problem ask is, “How long does it last?”
The Timeframe of TMJ flare-ups
The most common reason for TMJ disorder to occur is due to injury or trauma. Individuals with arthritis may also experience TMJ flare up due to it affecting the temporomandibular joints. The joint problem is hard to ignore, and its symptoms include:
- A pinching pain the joint itself
- Face feels warm and starts to swell
- Frequent headaches
- There is tenderness in the jaw
- Difficulty opening and closing the jaw, chewing
- Locked jaw, inability to move the jaw
- A clicking sound is heard while chewing
- Pain in the ear
- Hearing problem or ringing in the ear
The timeframe for TMJ depends on each individual and their case. We asked our friend, Dr. Kristina Neda, a dentist in Georgetown, KY, about TMJ flare-ups. She says, “The treatment for the problem can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. But make sure to get treated if you face any of the above symptoms because TMJ can become chronic.”
When does TMJ flare up?
Individuals are more likely to experience TMJ disorder:
- At times of stress: Individuals suffering from bruxism are more likely to experience TMJ due to the stress in their lives. When we stress, we naturally clench our jaws and put more pressure on it. Individuals with bruxism keep their jaws clenched for a longer period of time during the day and even night, which can aggravate the joints causing TMJ.
- Post dentist appointment: TMJ tends to flare up after an appointment with the dentist. While the cause may differ for individuals, most occur due to stress from the appointment or the fact that you have your jaw open for a long period of time. If you feel any strain on your jaw during the appointment, feel free to let your dentist know to give you breaks to let your jaw rest.
- After eating hard food: Food that can be tough to chew can lead to TMJ flaring up. Hard candy, hard pretzels, and chewy or sticky food put more pressure on the jaw, which can cause pain in the joints.
- Jaw injury: Individuals that have had TMJ, the problem can flare up again due to an injury or distress to the jaw. Therefore, you need to be more careful in performing any activity that can result in a jaw injury.
Reducing TMJ Flare Up Time
To reduce the time of the flare-up, certain steps must be taken by an individual.
Identify the Cause
As soon as TMJ flares up, you need to identify its cause. You can see the dentist in Shreveport, LA, who has years of experience with TMJ problems. He can help you identify the cause. In the process, they will examine your jaw to look for any swelling or tenderness while also analyzing its mobility. They may even recommend getting an x-ray done to determine the health of the teeth and jaw and find the root cause of TMJ. It nothing still comes up, then an MRI would be conducted to analyze the joints in the jaw to see if there are any problems with them or the disc of the joint.
Addressing the Cause
Once the cause is figured out, you can address the problem. For example, if bruxism is the reason behind your TMJ flare up, then a mouth guard would be recommend to ensure that when you clench your teeth, there is a safety net to ensure that there isn’t any additional strain on the jaw.
There are rare cases when the anatomy of the jaw itself is the cause for TMJ flaring up. In such cases, TMJ surgery is required to realign the jaw and joints to prevent any further flare-ups.
Treating TMJ symptoms
TMJ is painful, and most find it hard to smile due to the pain it causes. There are, however, some remedies you can try at home to relieve some pain from the flare-ups:
- Ice: You can apply ice for 20 minutes to the area where you may experience pain or swelling.
- Consume food with a soft texture: You want to change your diet to food that is easy to chew and have a soft texture. Consume more yogurt, scrambled eggs, boiled and well-cooked vegetables, the food you can easily chew or don’t really need to chew.
- Apply heat: For some individuals applying too much ice can result in even less mobility of the jaw. In that case, you want to apply a heating pad to help restore mobility.
- Pain-relievers: Anti-inflammatory drugs can be used to reduce the pain and inflammation in the jaw.
- Relieve stress: You may need to take up activities that help reduce and relieve stress. You can take up yoga or meditation, which will help you manage your stress. Anything that lets you relax.
In order to tackle TMJ pain, it is important you identify the underlying cause which will help you take the right approach to treat the flare up. In order to do that, you need to seek professional help from your dentist.