Treat Your TMJ, Not Just Your Symptoms

young man feeling pain holding his cheek with handIf you have TMJ, there are a few things your dentist can recommend to help you – but you may think that it is just easier to take an over-the-counter pain medication whenever the pain flares up. However, you should know that depending on medication all of the time instead of treating your TMJ can do harm in the long run.

What is TMJ?

“TMJ” stands for “temporomandibular joint disorder,” which has become a catch-all term for jaw pain. It isn’t just pain in the jaw, though – TMJ can result in headaches, pain and difficulty chewing, and even shoulder and neck muscle aches. It is no wonder people want relief from this pain! And pain relievers such as aspirin and ibuprofen are inexpensive and easy to get.

Unfortunately, constantly taking pain relievers can also cause problems. You have to keep in mind that

• You should always take the right dose, even if you start to feel like you need to take more to find relief. Constantly taking more than the recommended dose can cause heart, digestive system, and/or kidney problems.

• You have to make sure that you aren’t taking more than you realize on accident. Some medications, such as Advil PM, have ibuprofen in it. This means that if you’ve already taken ibuprofen for jaw pain and then you take Advil PM, you’ll be getting too much.

• If you are pregnant you have to be especially careful about what drugs you take (as always, you should discuss this with your doctor)

• An over-the-counter medication might not be doing you any good, anyway. You might need a stronger, prescription-strength pain reliever, which often come with problems of their own.

Treat the TMJ, not the symptoms

If you are always taking a pain pill to find relief from your TMJ, it might be time to see your dentist for help. He or she can determine why you have TMJ – it may be because you are missing a tooth and it is throwing your teeth out of alignment – and can help you to find a solution.

You shouldn’t have to live with pain. Contact Dr. Samuel Jirik’s office in Cabot, Arkansas, for help. Call (501) 843-9561 today!

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