Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMD or TMJ, has become more prevalent as the workplace, economy, and living demands become more and more intense. Stress-related clenching and grinding are at an all-time high, resulting in painful and misaligned jaw joints, a set of conditions referred to as the umbrella term of TMD or TMJ. With this prevalence, temporomandibular joint massages have become an increasingly popular form of TMJ treatment in Crescent Heights.
In this blog post, our team at Crescent Heights Dental Clinic explores what a TMJ massage is and what our patients can expect from this TMD treatment in Bridgeland.
What is Temporomandibular Joint Disorder?
The temporomandibular joint is located on each side of the face just in front of the ears and connects the skull to the jawbone. This joint allows you to do things such as speak, chew, swallow, and yawn.Temporomandibular joint disorder occurs with excessive teeth clenching or grinding, stress, injury, head or neck tension, as well as other issues.
Common symptoms of TMJ include tenderness and pain, clicking, popping, or grinding sounds, trouble opening and closing the mouth, migraines, and neck and head tension.
How Can a TMJ Massage Help?
An increasingly popular form of TMD treatment near you, TMJ massages work the muscles around the temporomandibular joint to alleviate tension and pain. Sometimes, this includes an intra-oral massage. If a client has been suffering from TMJ for a while and has found no relief from other treatment methods, our dentist in Crescent Heights may recommend incorporating a TMJ massage into their treatment plan. Often, after just one massage, our dentist near you finds that patients notice immediate relief.
What Happens During a TMJ Massage?
When you get a TMJ massage, your dentist in Bridgeland will begin by releasing the muscles in your upper back and shoulders. They will also work through your neck, chest, and collarbone to release tension in all the areas that are connected to your temporomandibular joint. All of these are extra-oral methods.
Often, a TMJ massage will involve intraoral methods as well. To do this, your dentist will wear gloves and massage the inside of your mouth between your cheeks and teeth, as well as the area under your tongue.
After working intra-orally, your dentist may move back to the outside of your mouth and again relax the surrounding muscles on your chest, neck, shoulders, and back to relieve any tension built up during your treatment. It is important that you notify your practitioner of any discomfort or pain you feel during treatment.
How Can You Alleviate TMJ Pain at Home?
We understand that you cannot always see a professional when experiencing a TMJ flare-up, so here are some ways to alleviate your pain at home:
Apply pressure to the area just under your cheekbone using your thumb. Gently open your jaw while applying this pressure and repeat as necessary.
Begin by opening your jaw and pushing your lower jaw forward. Then, close the jaw with your lower teeth in front of your upper teeth. This method is referred to as the “bulldog” method.
Drag your thumb across the edge of your jawbone under your chin in a backward or forward motion- whichever feels best.
Repeating these exercises as needed will help alleviate tension in the muscles surrounding your temporomandibular joint and help you find some much-needed relief.