Treat the TMJ Not Just the Symptoms

TMJ TMD health care concept on wooden blocks in doctor hands. TMJ can be very painful, and for many people, an easy and quick solution for the pain is to take an over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or aspirin. However, there are some very good reasons why you should treat your TMJ and not just the painful symptoms.

What is TMJ?

“TMJ” stands for “temporomandibular joint,” and it has come to be a catch-all term for jaw pain and problems. This pain can make it difficult to eat and talk. You may have constant headaches and pain and tenderness in the jaw, shoulders, and neck. TMJ can be caused by arthritis or another inherited condition, but it can also be caused by repetitive tooth grinding and/or misaligned, missing, or crooked teeth.

The importance of treating your TMJ

Over-the-counter medication is a quick, easy, and inexpensive solution for pain from TMJ. However, although this medication can provide temporary relief, it can also end up causing you more trouble:

• Taking more than the appropriate dose (or taking it all the time for years and years) can lead to digestive, kidney, and/or heart problems

• If you are pregnant or have a health condition, it may not be safe for you to take a pain reliever (check with your doctor to be sure)

• You might take more than what is recommended and not even know it. For instance, if you take ibuprofen for pain and soon after take a medicine such as Advil PM to help you sleep (which also has ibuprofen in it), you can end up getting a double dose.

To protect yourself from the effects of constantly taking medication, treat your TMJ instead of just the symptoms. Having your teeth straightened, replacing a lost tooth, or seeing your dentist for a night guard to prevent tooth grinding may provide the relief you are looking for.

If you find yourself constantly taking pain medication to deal with your jaw pain, your dentist may be able to help you find a healthier, more permanent solution. Call Soft Touch Dentistry today for an appointment to discuss your TMJ and your treatment options. Contact the Brighton office at (617) 782-9250 or the Newton office at (617) 332-8146 today.

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