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3610 Calle Cuervo NW
Albuquerque, NM 87114
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3610 Calle Cuervo NW
Albuquerque, NM 87114

How Do I Get Pain Relief For My TMJ?

May 28, 2024
How Do I Get Pain Relief For My TMJ?

TMJ, or temporomandibular joint syndrome, is a uniquely painful jaw condition. Patients with TMJ may have severe pain in the joints connecting the upper and lower jaw. The pain can also spread to the face, ears, shoulder, and neck.

TMJ can prevent patients from relaxing, sleeping, and enjoying life. Fortunately, your dentist has many noninvasive ways to relieve pain and help patients live normal lives.

These methods include oral appliance therapy or jaw splints, medications, diet changes, relaxation techniques, and stress reduction. In extreme cases, surgical options may be necessary.

What is TMJ?

TMJ stands for the temporomandibular joint. We have two temporomandibular joints: one at either corner of the jaw. The temporomandibular joint is a complex sliding hinge that allows for a flexible range of motion. TMJ syndrome develops when this joint becomes inflamed or irritated enough to cause problems.

Causes of TMJ Disorder

TMJ does not always have clear causes. However, several commonalities may tie this condition together:

  • Arthritis: When the TMJ joint experiences arthritis, its disc may break down. This problem leads to significant pain and may cause difficulty opening and closing the jaw.
  • Jaw or Facial Trauma: When patients suffer traumatic injuries such as a blow to the face or a car accident, they are likely to develop TMJ.
  • Stress: Feelings of stress may not be a direct cause of TMJ, but they certainly reinforce the condition. Patients with TMJ often clench or grind their teeth, irritating the temporomandibular joints and causing tension throughout the facial muscles.

Methods for TMJ Pain Relief

Diet Change

Eating a softer diet can be beneficial when dealing with a TMJ flare-up. You can take some pressure off your joints if you can avoid eating hard, chewy, or crunchy foods.

Relaxation and Stress Relief

If you can relieve stress, you may be able to take some pressure off your temporomandibular joint. Many patients find meditation, yoga, and talk therapy beneficial.

Habit Changes

Avoid singing, yawning, chewing gum, and making other large or repetitive jaw movements.

Oral Appliance Therapy

Dentists can prescribe appliances that hold the jaw relaxed at night, preventing clenching and grinding that could aggravate the temporomandibular joint.


Patients may need muscle relaxants or pain medication to feel better but try non-drug therapies first.


In cases of arthritis or joint deterioration, jaw surgery may be your best option. Most cases of TMJ can receive relief from alternative methods.

Frequently Asked Questions About TMJ

Will TMJ go away on its own?

TMJ may leave on its own, but this circumstance is unlikely if you continue the activities that caused it. If you feel any of the symptoms of TMJ, call your family dentist to discuss treatment options.

Can TMJ result from a car accident?

Traumatic injury is a major cause of TMJ. If you have been in an accident, consult your dentist as soon as it is safe.

Call Davis Gribble Hollowwa Dental

TMJ can significantly impact your quality of life. If you believe you have TMJ, please call our Albuquerque, NM, office at 505-898-1976 for help. We can schedule a consultation with one of our expert dentists to help you feel more like yourself.

Contact our office today to schedule your appointment!

3610 Calle Cuervo NW Albuquerque, NM 87114
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