Have you been diagnosed with TMJ and suffer from persistent pain rather than intermittent pain? If so, there are a few things that you can do on your own to alleviate the pain. Pain that does not respond to these efforts should be referred to your dentist, who may implement additional treatments to help you manage your pain. You can use the following suggestions as the framework for your self-help approach to managing your pain. 

Change Eating Habits

Your persistent jaw pain may be related to your eating habits. Aim to eat smaller meals to reduce the amount of chewing time you have in one sitting. Refrain from chewing gum, and stop impulsive chewing habits such as nervously chewing on drinking straws. 

You may also need to consider trying a dieting change. A soft food and liquid diet would minimize the exertion needed to chew food. This does not mean that you will have to settle for food that does not taste good. Soup, pasta, fish, eggs, cooked fruits and vegetables, legumes and smoothies are examples of foods that you can choose from. 

At-Home Massage and Relaxation

Performing your own jaw massages in the comfort of your home can provide instant relief. You may need to schedule an appointment with a physical therapist to learn the correct technique.

It is important that you take the time to perform relaxation techniques too. This is because stress sometimes triggers TMJ pain episodes. Some people clench their teeth when they feel stressed, which can also cause pain to occur. Your dentist or a physical therapist are good resources to use for suggestions on relaxation techniques. Meditation and yoga are examples of two relaxation techniques that could aid in relieving persistent pain.

Dentistry Intervention

Your dentist may recommend that you wear mouth guards or splints. These specialty mouthpieces aid in reducing habits such as teeth clenching. The difference between these appliances is that mouth guards are generally worn during sleep times, and dental splints are worn day and night. You may receive instructions to only remove dental splints to perform your dental hygiene. If you already have a mouth guard, your dentist may recommend dental splints as the next course of treatment. 

Laser therapy and anti-inflammatory medications may also be used to treat chronic TMJ pain. They are used to reduce the amount of inflammation in the jaw, which can reduce the level of pain people experience. If stress is determined to be a contributing factor to pain, anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications or muscle relaxers may be prescribed based upon what the contributing factors to the stress are. 

Dental surgery or semi-permanent devices such as bridges or braces may be recommended when other means of pain management have been exhausted. The goal of these treatments is to place less strain on the jaw, which can eliminate or reduce pain episodes. 

Contact a center like Panther Hollow Dental Lodge for more information.