Do you often have headaches? Does your jaw hurt when you chew? Have you noticed that your neck and shoulder muscles feel tense and tight all the time? You may have TMJ, and you may think the solution is to pop a few ibuprofen or aspirin every time the pain gets to be too bad – but there are some very important reasons why you should treat the TMJ instead of just trying to deal with the pain.
The “quick fix” is not always the best fix
Over-the-counter pain relievers are inexpensive, readily available, and a quick way to deal with the pain of TMJ (temporomandibular joint disorder). But depending on pain relivers can be a bad idea:
• Always taking ibuprofen can be dangerous for your health, especially if you take more than the recommended dose. This can lead to problems with the heart, digestive system, and/or kidneys.
• You can end up taking more than you realize. Some medications have pain reliever in them. For example, you may end up with a double dose of ibuprofen if you take a few ibuprofen and then take Advil PM, which has ibuprofen in it.
• If you are pregnant or have certain health problems, such as asthma or Crohn’s disease, you should consult your doctor before taking ibuprofen.
• If your TMJ is so bad that you need a prescription-strength pain reliever, this can come with an entirely different set of health concerns.
Treat the TMJ, not the symptoms
If you have to take pain relievers every day, or you have to take more and more to find relief, your dentist may be able to help. It may be that having your teeth straightened can help with your TMJ. Or, if you are missing a tooth, a dental implant can help to get all of your teeth into alignment, which can help to relieve the stress on your jaw muscles.
You don’t have to live with the pain of TMJ – and you don’t have to depend on pain medication to find relief. If you think you might have TMJ, call Hampton Dental Associates for help. Call the office in Milwaukee at (414) 464-9021 for an appointment today!