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April 16, 2022

3 Ways to Get Relief From TMD Pain at Home

Woman experiencing TMD pain after waking up

When you have TMD, you already know that it causes severe discomfort. You’d want to visit your dentist to help fix it in most circumstances. They could give you a nightguard or some other orthodontic treatment.

However, you might not be able to get TMD relief from your Ann Arbor dentist right away. If that happens, try these three at-home remedies for TMD, at least until you find professional help!

Take Appropriate Medicine

Several medications help relieve TMD pain. Over-the-counter options like NSAIDs — nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs — would reduce the associated pain and swelling. Aspirin, as well as brands of ibuprofen including Tylenol or Advil, would be good examples.

If you think your TMD stems from jaw-clenching or teeth-grinding, you may need a muscle relaxant. However, you’d have to get a physician’s prescription for it. Your prescribing doctor could also assign anti-anxiety medicine to you for a short period.

Apply Heat, Exercise, or Ice Packs

You may be able to manage your pain with a mix of heat, exercise, and ice packs.

First, apply heat to your face and temple for ten minutes, which should relax your tight muscles.

Afterward, do a few stretches. Start by putting your left thumb under your upper front teeth. Next, put your right index and middle fingers on top of your lower front teeth. Then, pull your jaw apart with your hands in a gentle motion.

Finish things off by placing an ice pack on your face for five minutes. You could complete this routine several times a day — physical therapy often helps patients with TMD.

Follow a Soft Food Diet

Another possibility is a soft food diet, where you have meals that won’t exacerbate your TMD pain. The diet’s guidelines would look something like this:

  • Eat soft foods that don’t need much chewing. This might include applesauce, yogurt, oatmeal, etc.
  • Avoid hard and crunchy foods that strain your jaw muscles.
  • Cut food into small pieces, making them easier to chew.
  • Stay away from food that makes you open your jaws wide, like whole apples, large sandwiches, and so on.

Most who follow a soft-food diet are pain-free after two-three weeks, while others may need to eat soft food for a bit longer.

A dentist can give you more thorough treatments for your jaw. In the meantime, though, the above techniques should relieve your TMD pain enough to let you enjoy life as usual.

About the Author

Dr. James Olson has been a practicing dentist for over 30 years. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, he opened his practice in his hometown with just one operatory and one employee. It is now a state-of-the-art facility that can provide the highest quality dentistry. Dr. Olson also pursues continuing education to stay on top of current trends, averaging over 100 hours per year with groups like the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies. He currently practices at his self-titled clinic and can be reached at his website or by phone at (734)-996-0200.

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