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Understanding TMJ Flare-Ups: A Simple Guide

Posted on April 11th, 2024 by

Today at Art of Modern Dentistry, we’re diving into the world of TMJ Disorder and TMJ flare-ups. Now, you might be wondering, “What in the world is TMJ?” TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint, which is just a fancy way of saying the joint that connects your jaw to your skull. It’s like a hinge that lets you open and close your mouth, talk, and chew your favorite foods.

Sometimes, though, this important joint can run into some trouble leading to pain and discomfort. That’s when we talk about TMJ flare-ups. But before we get into what a flare-up is, let’s touch on what can cause trouble in this area in the first place.

What Causes TMJ Issues?

A few things can make your TMJ act up, and one of the most common is stress. When we’re stressed, we might clench our jaws or grind our teeth without even realizing it, putting extra pressure on the TMJ.

Other causes may include:

  • Dehydration
  • Vitamin D deficiency
  • Eating hard or chewy foods
  • Nighttime teeth grinding
  • Poor posture
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Injuries to the jaw

Finally and unfortunately, in some cases, it is not possible to link TMJ flare-ups back to any specific cause. In these cases, working with your dentist to create a treatment plan to prevent future symptoms is important.

What’s a TMJ Flare-Up?

A TMJ flare-up is when the symptoms of TMJ issues suddenly become worse. Some of the most common TMJ flare-up symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Pain around the jaw joint
  • General jaw pain
  • Earaches
  • Tinnitus (ringing ears)
  • Clicking or popping noises when opening or closing your mouth
  • Swelling
  • Lockjaw
  • Facial muscle spasms
  • Limited jaw mobility

Understanding TMJ Flare-Ups: A Simple Guide

Preventing TMJ Flare-Ups

Preventing a TMJ flare-up is all about being kind to your jaw. Try to reduce stress with activities like meditation or gentle exercise. Be mindful of not clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth. Also, try to chew evenly on both sides of your mouth and avoid hard foods or chewing gum excessively.

What to Do If You Have a TMJ Flare-Up

Despite your best efforts, you might still experience a TMJ flare-up. When this happens, don’t worry. There are steps you can take to ease the discomfort.

  • First, apply a warm compress to the side of your face to relax the muscles.
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers can also help.
  • Eating soft foods for a few days can give your jaw a break, and gentle jaw muscle stretching exercises can be beneficial.

However, if your symptoms persist, it’s essential to seek professional help.

Need Help With TMJ? Visit Art of Modern Dentistry

Living with TMJ flare-ups can be tough, but you don’t have to do it alone. If you’re experiencing symptoms of a TMJ flare-up, it’s time to reach out to the experts. At Art of Modern Dentistry in Chicago, we offer emergency appointments and today’s most advanced dental treatment to help you find relief. Our team understands TMJ issues inside and out, and we’re here to provide the care and support you need.

Don’t let TMJ discomfort hold you back from enjoying life to the fullest. Schedule an appointment with us today, and let’s work together to get you smiling comfortably again!

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