If you’re looking for how to cure TMJ permanently, then you are at the right article. A variety of exercises can be used to alleviate pain caused by a disorder in the temporomandibular joints (TMJ). These exercises can increase jaw strength and mobility.
TMJ disorders refer to a range of conditions that affect the muscles and bones in the jaw. They cause pain in the jaw joint, which connects to the skull. It allows people to open and close their mouths. It could be the muscles that move the joint or the pain itself.
You can treat TMJ disorders with noninvasive or conservative treatments. These could include exercises that improve the strength and function of the jaw.
This article will explain what TMJ disorders are and provide some exercises to help relieve the symptoms.
The TMJ joints connect your jawbone and skull. Every time you speak, chew, or swallow, your TMJ activates.
TMJ disorders are when your jaw joints or jaw muscles become damaged. It can be caused by a jaw injury, inflammation, arthritis, overuse, or a combination of both.
TMJ disorders can cause mild to severe symptoms such as:
- Clicking, grating, or popping sounds in the jaw when you open or close your mouth
- Locking the jaw joint
- Pain in the neck, ears, jaw, or face
- Pain while chewing
TMJ syndrome: Causes
TMJ disorders can be caused by many factors, including jaw injury, poor oral hygiene, wear and tear of jaws due to aging, and many other things. It is essential to understand the cause of TMJ syndrome before you can find a solution.
TMJ disorder could also be caused by physical injury.
TMJ joints can also be prone to arthritis, just like other body joints. It could be the leading cause of TMJ pain.
Several times, grinding or clenching the teeth during sleep could cause pain in the TMJ joint.
TMJ can be caused by any type of medical or dental procedure.
The TMJ joint is a combination of hinge action and sliding motions. To keep the joint moving smoothly, the bones are covered with cartilage.
Painful TMJ disorders can develop when the shock-absorbing disc shifts or erodes. Additionally, arthritis can cause damage to the joint’s cartilage. Many things can cause TMJ disorders.
TMJ syndrome: Causes
TMJ disorders can result from several factors, including jaw injury, poor oral habits, aging-related wear, tear, and so forth. This syndrome can be treated by understanding the cause.
- A physical injury could cause the TMJ condition.
- Any medical procedure can cause TMJ.
- TMJ joint pain can often be caused by teeth grinding and clenching during sleep.
- TMJ joints are susceptible to arthritis like any other joint in the body. It could be a significant cause of TMJ discomfort.
How to treat TMJ
How to cure TMJ permanently? The good news is that TMJ pain often goes away on its own. If the pain is affecting your daily activities, it is best to seek medical attention. TMJ can be treated at home with simple techniques.
Ice: Ice is a significant way to reduce inflammation and pain. Apply ice cubes to the joint using a clean, cotton cloth. Ice cubes should not be left on the common for longer than 10-15 minutes.
Jaw Exercises: The most acceptable way to get rid of TMJ pain is jaw exercise. To relieve jaw pain, your doctor may ask you to perform simple and easy jaw exercises. You can use these exercises to ease jaw pain.
Over-the-Counter Medicines: If the pain is intolerable, then there’re many over-the-counter medicines with no steroid available which can be taken to get temporary relief from pain. Your dentist or doctor may prescribe these. If necessary, they might prescribe more potent painkillers.
Relax facial muscles: This can help to eliminate the TMJ disorder. Keep your teeth and lips apart. Deep and slow breathing might be used to relieve pain.
Take soft food: If you suffer from TMJ pain, it is good to eat soft or blended foods. It will allow your jaw to relax as you eat. Avoid crunchy or hard foods as they can cause jaw pain.
Using Moist Heat: several times, you have heard your doctor use moist heat to heal joint injuries. The TMJ is no different than the rest of your body’s joints. A wet heat bottle or hot water bottle wrapped with a damp towel can provide some relief from TMJ pain. Use sweltering heat sparingly to avoid burning your face.
These are some of the answers for how to cure TMJ permanently.
How to Cure TMJ Permanently
Splits made to order
Again How to cure TMJ permanently? These custom-made splints can be placed over your upper or lower teeth. The splints act as a cushion between your teeth and prevent you from grinding or clenching your teeth. It allows the temporomandibular joints to rest easily and heals quickly.
Don’t quit wearing the splints if the pain subsides. It can be used for two to three more days to allow the joint to heal completely. To avoid any tension in the healing joint, you can continue to eat a soft diet for several more days.
Physical therapy is based on joint-specific movements. These exercises are very beneficial and include tongue movement, forward jaw movement, tongue movement, chin tucks, and resisted closure.
TMJ disorders can also be treated with acupuncture and other forms of massage. It is recommended to consult a physiotherapist before you attempt any of these exercises. You should not do them wrong. It is why professional guidance is essential.
The right exercises are essential for joint rehabilitation. A few of the most effective practices are chin tucks and tongue up. Forward jaw movement, tongue movement, resisted closing, and tongue up is just a few.
As per a study by Haketa et al., TMJ exercises help open the mouth and provide pain relief. “Among the many conservative treatments available for temporomandibular disorder, therapeutic exercise is the best. It’s especially effective for anterior disc displacement and does not reduce Therapeutic exercise helps to restore jaw function faster than splints.
TMJ disorders can also be treated with acupuncture or other forms of massage. Before you attempt any of these exercises, it is a good idea to consult a physiotherapist. You should always be careful with these exercises.
It is the last resort, and most medical professionals don’t recommend it. TMJ surgery, also known as arthroscopy, is the correct positioning of the TMJ and any other activities that will resolve any internal joint problems.
It is the last resort and is not recommended by most medical professionals. TMJ surgery is known as arthroscopy. It involves appropriately positioning the TMJ and performing any other activity to eliminate any internal problems.
Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation
Low-voltage electric shocks can be used to treat pain. Current modes are used to relieve pain. They are placed in the affected area, and the currents pass through the nerves.
You should never ignore TMJ discomfort. If left untreated, it can lead to irreversible damage. It is essential to do all you can to rest for the joints before the pain disappears.
Treatment of TMJ Pain
TMJ pain cannot be fixed permanently. Our priority is to support you feel better to live more fully in your daily life. At the beginning of each treatment, we use one or more of these therapies:
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Appliances for pain relief
- Both hot and cold therapy
- Muscle relaxer medication
- Nerve block by SPG
- Spray and stretch
- TENS Therapy
- Trigger point injections
Phase 1: Treatment for TMJ Disorders
The next step is Phase 1 TMJ treatment. It involves an orthotic device that allows you to retrain the jaw by eating, chewing, and working in the optimal position. Any of the following is part of Phase 1 TMD Treatment:
- Decay Removal
- Infection control
- Nite Bite reposition appliance
- Oral sleep appliance
- TMJ orthotics
Phase 2: A potential TMJ cure
We can’t guarantee that everyone will experience pain relief from TMJ problems permanently.
However, our Phase 2 options provide long-lasting comfort for many patients. These are non-surgical, long-term treatment options that address the root cause of your temporomandibular dysfunction. The following are Phase 2 treatment options:
- Rehabilitation of TMJ bites
- TMJ dentures
- TMJ orthodontics
TMJ disorders can sometimes be treated without treatment. Your doctor may recommend multiple treatment options if your symptoms do not improve.
These medication options, along with non-surgical treatments, may relieve the pain of TMJ disorders.
- Anti-inflammatories and pain relievers. TMJ pain can be relieved by prescription pain medication.
- Muscle relaxants. You can use these drugs for a few weeks or days to relieve the pain of TMJ disorders caused by muscle spasms.
- Tricyclic antidepressants. These medications, like amitriptyline, are most commonly used to treat depression. However, in low doses, they can also be used for pain relief and bruxism management.
You can treat TMJ disorders with non-drug therapies such as:
- Counseling. Counseling and education can help you to understand what triggers your pain and how you can reduce them. You might be prone to grinding your teeth, biting your nails, or clenching your teeth.
- Oral splints and mouth guards (occlusal devices) are available. People with jaw pain often benefit from having a soft or hard device placed over their teeth. However, the reasons for these devices being beneficial are not well understood.
- Physical therapy. Treatments may include ultrasound, moist heat, and ice.
Other procedures or surgery
If other treatments fail to work, your doctor may suggest the following procedures:
- Arthrocentesis. It is a slightly invasive procedure that involves the insertion of tiny needles into the joint so that fluid can be irrigated through the common to remove debris and inflammatory byproducts.
- Injections. Corticosteroid injections may be beneficial for some people. TMJ disorders can be relieved by injecting botulinum toxin type A (Botox) into the jaw muscles used for chewing.
- Modified condylotomy. Modified condylotomy addresses the TMJ indirectly through surgery on the mandible but not the joint. It may be helpful for pain relief and locking.
- Open-joint surgery. Your dentist or doctor may recommend open-joint surgery (arthrotomy) to fix or replace your jaw joint if your jaw pain doesn’t resolve with less-invasive treatments. Open-joint surgery is riskier than other procedures and should be carefully considered after discussing the pros/cons.
- TMJ arthroscopy. TMJ arthroscopy can sometimes be as effective as open-joint surgeries in treating certain types of TMJ disorders. An arthroscope is inserted into the joint space, and minor surgical instruments are used to perform surgery. TMJ arthroscopy is less risky and more complicated than open-joint surgical, but there are some limitations.
Discuss the possible benefits and risks of any surgery with your doctor and discuss all options about how to cure TMJ permanently.
Lifestyle and home remedies
You can reduce tension-related behaviors like clenching your jaw, grinding teeth, or chewing pencils by being more aware of them. These tips can help reduce the symptoms of TMJ disorders.
- Avoid straining your jaw muscles. Soft foods are best. Reduce food into smaller pieces. Avoid sticky and chewy foods. Avoid chewing gum.
- Massage and stretching. You may be shown by your doctor, dentist, or physical therapist how to stretch and strengthen your jaw muscles.
- One can choose between heat and cold. You can reduce pain by applying warm, moist heat to your side or using ice to your forehead.
Your dentist or doctor will examine your jaw and discuss your symptoms. Most likely, they will:
- Pay attention to your jaw as you open and close the mouth.
- Take note of the range of motion within your jaw.
- To find areas of discomfort or pain, press on the jaw area.
You may need to have your dentist or doctor diagnose a problem.
- CT scan provides detailed images of the joints and bones
- Dental X-rays for examining your jaw and teeth
- MRI can reveal issues with the disk of the joint or surrounding soft tissues
TMJ arthroscopy can sometimes be used to diagnose a TMJ disorder. Your doctor will add a thin tube (called a cannula) into your joint space. The small camera (an arthroscope) will then be inserted to view the area and help to determine a diagnosis.
Splits made to order
These custom-made splints can be placed over the lower or upper teeth. These splints are designed to act as a cushion between your teeth and keep you from grinding or clenching your teeth.
It provides enough support for the temporomandibular joints and allows them to heal without any hindrance.
After the pain has subsided, don’t stop using the splints. It is recommended that you continue to use it for at least two to three days, depending on how much pain the joint is experiencing.
You can keep the joints from getting too tight by eating soft food for a few days more before you return to your everyday routines.
TMJ disorders can often be accompanied by chronic pain. Alternative and complementary medicine may help to manage this condition. Examples include:
- Acupuncture. Acupuncture specialists treat chronic pain by placing thin needles at specific locations on the body.
- Biofeedback. You can use electronic devices to monitor tightness in specific muscles to help you relax.
- Relaxation techniques. Relaxation techniques include slowing down your breathing and taking deep, consistent breaths. It can help reduce tension, which can lead to less pain.
TMJ Disorders: Risk Factors
TMJ disorders are caused by different types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid. People who grind their teeth or clench their teeth are more likely to develop these disorders. Certain connective tissue diseases can cause problems in the temporomandibular joints.
Permanent treatment for TMJ
In many cases, TMJ disorders can be treated without professional intervention. If the pain is disturbing your daily activities, it may be worth seeking medical attention. You can use these tips at home to treat TMJ disorders.
Many times, doctors will recommend moist heat for joint injuries. TMJ disorders are similar to any other typical damage.
You can find relief from pain using moist heat, hot water bottles wrapped in a damp towel, or sweltering heat. This method can cause severe burns to your skin, so be careful.
TMJ disorders can be relieved by using ice packs.
Ice cubes can be wrapped in a cotton cloth and applied to the joint.
One should not use the ice pack for extended periods.
When dealing with pain from TMJ disorders, it is beneficial to eat soft or blended food. Softer foods can help your jaw relax while you eat. Avoid hard foods that require more muscle movements to chew, which can cause jaw pain.
TMJ pain relief exercises
TMJ exercises are not known to relieve pain. They are believed to be helpful:
- Increase jaw mobility
- Promote jaw healing
- Reduce jaw clicking
- Relax your jaw
- Strengthen jaw muscles
- Stretch the jaw
Nine exercises by the American Academy of Family Physicians and the Royal Surrey County Hospital can help relieve TMJ pain and improve the movement of your jaw joints. Frequency recommendations are available for some exercises. Ask your dentist or doctor for assistance if frequency recommendations are not general.
1. Exercises with Goldfish (whole opening).
Keep your tongue on the roof and place one finger on each side of your TMJ. The other finger should be on your chin.
Your lower jaw should be dropped entirely and then retracted. You can also do this exercise by placing one finger on each TMJ.
It will allow you to settle your lower jaw altogether. To complete one set, repeat the exercise six times. Each group should be completed six times per day.
2. Relaxed jaw exercise
Put your tongue on the top, behind your upper front teeth. Relax your jaw muscles and allow your teeth to fall apart.
3. Goldfish exercises (partial opening)
Your tongue should be on the roof of your mouth. One finger should be in front of your TMJ. Place your pointer or middle finger on your chin. Your lower jaw should be dropped halfway. Close your eyes. You might feel some resistance, but not pain.
Another variation is to place one hand on each TMJ and then drop your lower jaw halfway. Close again. One can repeat this exercise six times in a single set. Do this six times daily.
4. Resist opening the mouth
Your thumb should be under your chin. For resistance, open your mouth slowly and press gently against your chin. For three to six seconds, hold the position and then slowly close your mouth.
5. Chin tucks
Retain your shoulders back and your chest up. Next, draw your chin back to create a “double-chin.” Hold the position for three seconds, then repeat the process ten times.
6. Tongue up
Slowly open your mouth while your tongue touches the roof of your mouth.
7. Resist closing the mouth
With one hand, press your chin gently with your thumb and index. As you gently press your chin, close your mouth. It will strengthen the muscles that allow you to chew.
8. Forward jaw movement
Placing a 1/4-inch object between your front teeth is a good idea. Your bottom jaw should be moved forward so that your bottom teeth are in front of your top teeth. You can increase the distance between your teeth as the exercise becomes more accessible.
9. Side-to-side jaw movement
Place a 1/4-inch object (e.g., stacked tongue depressors) between your front teeth and move your jaw slowly from one side to the other. You can increase the thickness between your teeth by stacking them on top of one another.
10. Forward jaw movement
You will also need a thin object for this exercise. Anyone can follow these steps:
- Gently hold a thing about one-quarter inch thick between your front teeth.
- The bottom teeth should be in front of your top teeth.
- When the exercise becomes more complex, replace the object with a thicker one.
- Oxford University Hospitals Exercise
Oxford University Hospitals recommends the following routine to strengthen the jaw muscle and prevent clicking in the jaw joint.
This exercise can be done for 5 minutes twice daily.
- Close your mouth and allow the teeth to touch each other without clenching. The tip of your tongue should be placed on the palate just behind the upper front teeth.
- Keep the teeth together by running the end of your tongue back towards the soft palate.
- Keep your tongue in this position against your soft palate. Then, slowly open your mouth until you feel the tongue pull away. For five seconds, hold the position and then relax.
- For 5 minutes, repeat the process.
11. Resisted mouth closing
Resistance mouth closing is when you apply pressure to your chin and close your mouth. It is how to do the exercise.
- Place your thumbs below the chin.
- Place your index fingers between the ridges of your mouth and the bottom part of the chin.
- Apply gentle downward pressure with your thumbs and fingers to your chin while you close the mouth.
- Refrain from opening your mouth
You can also gently press your chin while you open your mouth. It is how to do the exercise.
- Two fingers should be placed under the chin. Open the mouth slowly and apply gentle pressure to the fingers.
- For 3-6 seconds, hold the button down.
- Slowly close your mouth.
- Side-to-side jaw movement
To strengthen your muscles, you will need to move the jaw side-to-side.
- Place your front teeth down on an object about one-quarter inch thick such as two tongue depressors.
- Slowly move your jaws from side to side.
- Once the exercise is more accessible, increase the object’s thickness.
- Tongue up
To practice the tongue up, you open and close your mouth slowly while keeping contact with the roof.
This movement should be repeated several times.
How does the Temporomandibular Joint Exercise (TMJ) relieve pain?
Tips for relieving pain during dental care
If you have TMJ, it may be painful to practice basic oral hygiene. You must brush your teeth and floss regularly.
These are some of the tips recommended by The TMJ Association to help reduce pain and ensure healthy gums and teeth.
- Use a soft-bristle toothbrush or a sonic toothbrush.
- If you cannot open your mouth for flossing, use a water flosser or rubber tip stimulator.
- You can also add an antiseptic mouth rinse into your daily dental care routine.
- If you feel pain, tell your dentist.
- After a dental procedure, you can apply heat or ice to the area.
- Ask your dentist for other ways to get rid of plaque than flossing. They may recommend wiping your teeth with the cotton gauze.
When should you contact a doctor?
Consult your doctor if you’re feeling pain due to TMJ disorders. A doctor may recommend a physical therapist who will work with the patient to create a customized exercise program that improves jaw strength and flexibility.
These exercises may not be effective for relieving pain for some people. These patients may need to be treated with medications or other treatments. They might recommend surgery in severe cases. However, this is usually considered a last resort.
The NIDCR warns that the possible benefits of surgery might not outweigh the risks, which include permanent jaw damage and replacement joints breaking or not functioning correctly.
Prepare for your appointment.
First, you’ll likely discuss your TMJ symptoms and concerns with your dentist or family doctor. If the suggested treatments do not provide sufficient relief, you might be referred for TMJ disorder treatment.
What you can do
It is possible to create a list of the answers to these questions.
- Are you prone to headaches, neck pains, or toothaches?
- Has it happened to you before?
- Have you noticed a growth in stress levels?
- What medicines and supplements do your take frequently?
- When did your symptoms begin?
What to expect from your dentist or doctor
These are some questions your doctor might ask:
- Are you experiencing constant pain, or are your symptoms changing?
- Is it hard to open your mouth normally?
- Are there any activity that causes the pain?
- Is your jaw clicking or popping when you move it? Does it feel painful?
Based on your answers, symptoms, and needs, your dentist or doctor will ask you additional questions. You can save time by anticipating and preparing questions.
TMJ disorders can sometimes resolve on their own. If your symptoms persist, TMJ exercises may help bring pain relief. You should not perform TMJ exercises if you are in severe pain. The AAFP suggests waiting until you feel better before beginning a TMJ exercise program.
Start slowly when doing TMJ exercises. Though you may feel some uneasiness at first, it should gradually ease and become more manageable. Consult your doctor if the pain becomes unbearable. TMJ exercises should be done when you are relaxed. It may be counterproductive to the purpose if you do them while your muscles are tight.
Your doctor should be consulted if your pain persists after performing TMJ exercises.
TMJ pain exercises are safe and can help reduce symptoms. These exercises can be done at home and are very easy to do.
For more information on the best exercises for you, it is best to consult a doctor. If the activities don’t reduce symptoms, doctors may recommend medical treatment.