Understanding TMJ Flare-ups and How to Address Them

The jaw is one of the most complex parts of the body. It is constantly in use, and it is this constant stress that causes TMJ disorders.

If you or someone you know has a TMJ disorder, you understand the pain it might bring. Sudden bouts of TMJ-related jaw pain are generally referred to as TMJ flare-ups. While there are many causes, we can all agree that pain and discomfort are things nobody wants to deal with.

With that said, let us talk about TMJ flare-ups—what causes them and what you can do to relieve yourself.

The Causes of TMJ Flare-ups

TMJ flare-ups can occur for various reasons, and some flare-ups can last up to several days in severe cases. That being said, some of these causes are generally out of your control. For instance, you may have received a jaw-related injury or trauma that led to TMJ disorder. 

There may also have been a deterioration in the jaw disc or joint due to arthritis, which may have also caused the problem. Other factors such as stress, posture, vitamin deficiencies, and even the food you eat can cause TMJ flare-ups. 

Fortunately, some of these, such as food, you can control. For example, some people experience flare-ups when they chew hard food. Avoiding hard food reduces the chances of these episodes from occurring, significantly reducing the pain.

How to relieve TMJ pain and discomfort

While there are many causes of TMJ flare-ups, there are also plenty of ways to relieve the pain and discomfort experienced due to the disorder.

For some people, the most effective way to treat TMJ pain is to apply heat or ice to the affected area. It creates a soothing effect that can significantly reduce inflammation and, therefore, pain. 

Another way is to follow a soft-food diet, avoiding hard foods like steak, candies, and other tougher food items. For some people, pain-relief medication is something they rely on for their jaws. However, many of these medications may have side effects, so educate yourself if you want to opt for over-the-counter options. 

Finally, for some individuals, a gentle massage on the jaw can reduce pain. Massaging boosts blood flow to the jaw, promoting healing of the disorder and the lessening of pain. Various relaxation techniques can also be of great help to relax your facial muscles.


TMJ flare-ups are never fun. It is nothing but pain and discomfort, and experiencing one can seriously hamper your ability to carry out daily activities normally. If you are dealing with TMJ flare-ups or someone you know is, it is vital to visit a dentist immediately about the problem. 

They will carefully examine the issue and identify the possible cause of your disorder. This will allow them to recommend pain-relieving techniques. Some may even suggest procedures that can permanently solve the issue! For that reason, if you or anyone you know is dealing with TMJ pain, visit the dentist today!

Ivy Rose DDS is a family dentist in Mansfield offering restorative and cosmetic dentistry with services including dentures, dental crowns, exams, cleanings, and more to satisfy any oral-related needs. If you are dealing with TMJ, book an appointment with us today and get some relief!