If you know the irritating sound of your jaw cracking while you’re trying to enjoy a good meal, you know temporomandibular joint dysfunction, better known as TMJ.
The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to the side of your head. When it works well, it helps you talk, chew and yawn.
For people with TMJ, problems with the joint and muscles around it may cause:
- Pain that travels through the face, jaw or neck
- Stiff jaw muscles
- Limited movement or locking of the jaw
- Painful clicking or popping in the jaw
- Change in the way the upper and lower teeth fit together
Jaw pain may go away with little or no treatment.
Treatment may include:
- Pain medicines
- Devices to insert in your mouth
What you can do at home:
- Eat soft foods
- Apply ice packs
- Relieve jaw pressure by relaxing your jaw muscles. Just press your tongue up against the roof of your mouth. This can also prevent the development of chronic pain in the joint called TMJ.