TMJ, also known as temporomandibular joint, acts like a sliding hinge that connects your jawbone to the temporal bones of your skull. This allows you to move your jaw so that you can talk, chew food, and yawn.
If problems arise with your jaw and the muscles that control TMJ, then you probably have developed TMD (temporomandibular disorder). Sometimes when people refer to TMJ, they really mean TMD. This is a common mistake made regularly.
Determining the exact cause of TMJ disorder is not easy, yet dentists believe it could stem from problems that surface from the jaw muscles or parts of the joint themselves. People who develop TMJ disorder might experience severe pain and discomfort temporarily, or possibly for years.
Even swelling on one or both sides of the face can appear. For patients who are diagnosed with the disorder, treatment consists of self-care, therapies, devices, and medication.
Essential oils have become very popular in recent years. They are used for a variety of reasons and are showing up in yoga studios, health food stores, and more. Some patients who are diagnosed with TMJ disorder are opting to use essential oils to attempt to cure or treat TMD.
Essential oils can be used as aromatherapy, applied to the skin, or in some rare cases is ingested. Even though nothing has been published to prove essential oils help with TMJ disorder treatment, there is evidence that suggests it eases the symptoms of TMJ disorder.
Essential Oils Recommended for TMJ Disorder Treatment
- Lavender. This is the most promising essential oil for TMJ disorder treatment relief. Its soothing scent helps people to relax, so it benefits those who experience TMD pain which is usually secondary to stress. Also, it is shown to be effective against nerve pain which can be a source of TMJ disorder.
- Chamomile. This essential oil is known to be a sleep aid, especially in tea, but is also an anti-inflammatory herb. It has been used effectively for several joint conditions, which means it should help with TMJ disorder issues.
- Rosemary. This essential oil has proven to be effective in reducing musculoskeletal pain and reduce inflammation.
- Eucalyptus. This essential oil is shown to relieve pain and reduce blood pressure when inhaled by blocking nerve signals, but the exact mechanism is unclear.
- Peppermint. This essential oil relieves pain and soothes aches, plus has a cooling effect on the areas it is applied to.
- Frankincense. This essential oil has been used for healing purposes for centuries and has analgesic properties to relieve pain.
Before trying essential oils on any existing dental issue, you should know that not all oils are created equal. This is a big concern because the purity of certain essential oil brands is cut with less expensive ingredients such as vegetable oil or synthetic ingredients.
Therefore, using oils that are not pure might increase your risk of developing an allergic reaction, or the oil may not work as expected. On the other hand, a hundred percent pure oil may be stronger than other oils so will need to be diluted with a neutral PH which does not alter its chemical makeup.
With the wide variety of essential oil available, consulting your dentist beforehand would be wise to make sure the oils do not interfere with the medication you might be taking.
Other TMJ Disorder Home Remedy Treatments
- Take over-the-counter medication (OTC). Naproxen or ibuprofen which are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can help to relieve muscle pain and swelling.
- Avoid excessive jaw movements. Keep yawning and chewing to a minimum, and do not do anything that forces you to open your mouth wide such as yelling or singing.
- Use heat or cold packs. Apply cold packs to the side of your face and temple for ten minutes, or after performing jaw stretches, apply a warm washcloth to the side of your face for about five minutes.
- Eat soft foods. Eating foods such as mashed potatoes, yogurt, soup, or scrambled eggs to name a few, will help to reduce jaw movement. Also, cut your food into smaller bites to help you to chew less too.
- Do not rest your chin on your hand. This will help to decrease neck and facial pain.
- Keep teeth slightly apart. Keeping your teeth slightly apart will help to relieve pressure on the jaw and prevent clenching or grinding during the day.
- Practice relaxation techniques. This helps to loosen up the jaw.
Even though essential oils aren’t suitable for everyone, they may be able to help relieve some TMJ disorder-related pain. To find out if you might have TMJ or if you are experiencing other dental issues, contact Maestri Dental at 337-704-2126.
Dr. Gina Liggio Maestri and our compassionate dedicated team offer a variety of dental services to meet the needs of the whole family.
Let Maestri Dental get to the root of your problem by contacting us today!