Treating TMJ/TMD

Most people with TMD (temporomandibular disorder) have fairly mild symptoms, or symptoms that come and go with simple therapy they can do at home. But no treatment should be taken without the guidance of a health care professional, like the team at Poss Sleep Apnea and TMD Solutions in Brentwood TN.

The temporomandibular joint is the ball-and-socket joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull. It has three main parts:

  • The ball, or dondyle
  • The socket, or glenoid fossa
  • The disk, a small, fibrous “shock absorber” that sits between the ball and socket

TMD can be aggravating and painful, even in cases that are relatively mild – which, as noted, are most. There is no single best treatment. But nonsurgical treatments are always the best starting point.

A good first treatment is paying attention to what you eat. Food that doesn’t need a lot of chewing gives your jaw a chance to rest and heal.

  • Soft foods. Fish, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, soup, and smoothies are a good place to start, since they require little to no chewing.
  • Small pieces. When you eat things that need more chewing, cut them into small pieces – as small as possible. That will make them much easier to chew.

Another treatment you can do easily at home involves ice packs, exercise, and moist heat. Holding an ice pack to the side of the face for about ten minutes helps to relax tight muscles.

After that do some stretching. One effective exercise goes like this:

  • Place the thumb of one hand under your upper front teeth
  • Place the index and middle fingers of the other hand on top of the lower front teeth.
  • Keeping your jaw totally relaxed, gently pull it open. Hold for a few seconds. Be sure you do not use the jaw muscles.

These are only first steps. At Poss Sleep Apnea & TMJ Solutions in Brentwood TN, we customize a treatment plan for you that is aimed at both a short and long-term solution. But the first step is an accurate diagnosis. Please call us to schedule an appointment.