Occasional pain in the jaw joint or chewing muscles is common and may not be a cause for concern. See a doctor if your pain is severe or if it does not go away. Treatment for TMJ syndrome should begin when it is in early stages. The doctor can explain the functioning of the joints and how to avoid any action or habit (such as chewing gum) that might aggravate the joint or facial pain.
If your jaw is locked open or closed, go to a hospital's emergency department.
Many people, more women than men, have TMJ syndrome. However, the full TMJ disorder develops in only a few. Most of the symptoms disappear in two weeks because your jaw joint rests and recovers when you are unable to chew.
Follow your doctor's specific instructions for taking any
medication prescribed and for home care with compresses or gentle jaw exercise.
If you tend to have occasional bouts with jaw pain, avoid chewing gum or biting on objects, such as pens or fingernails. Avoid eating hard or chewy food. When you yawn, support your lower jaw with your hand.
See your dentist if you grind your teeth at night or find yourself clenching your jaw. The dentist can make a splint for you.
Most people do well with conservative therapy, such as resting the jaw or using a mouth splint. The success of treatment depends on how severe the symptoms are and how well you comply with treatment.
Only about 1% of patients require joint replacement surgery.
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