Top TMJ Tips

The symptoms of TMJ can affect the health of your teeth, gums, and jaw. Additionally, a disorder of your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) can contribute to other health problems, such as chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, migraine headaches, sleep disturbances, and malnutrition. 

If you have clicking noises or pain in your jaw, schedule an appointment at Trident Dental for a comprehensive TMJ evaluation.

Top TMJ Tips

Continue reading below to learn more about the steps you can take to help manage TMJ and prevent its harmful effects.

Healthy Stress Management

Although there may be several causes of TMJ disorder, stress is usually a contributing factor. If stress isn’t the direct cause, it often contributes to the symptoms by causing clenching and grinding of your teeth. Therefore, stress management is a significant part of eliminating TMJ disorder or mitigating the harm it causes your teeth, gums, and jaw. Stress management often includes directly minimizing the stress of clenching combined with helping patients effectively cope with the stress of life. The treatment modalities can include:

  • Intraoral appliances such as a nightguard.

  • An occlusal (bite) adjustment that evenly distributes the forces placed on teeth.

  • Biofeedback.

  • Cognitive therapy.

  • Meditation.

  • Yoga.

Healthy Chewing Habits

Chewing is a part of our daily routine, but its importance to jaw health is often overlooked. Establishing healthy chewing habits can help prevent and treat TMJ. Healthy habits to consider include:

  • Take small bites of food. Placing too much food in your mouth places excessive stress on your jaw muscles and the temporomandibular joint.

  • Minimize consuming hard or chewy foods. Eating tough meat, hard candy, nuts, or crusty bread too often can contribute to TMJ pain.

  • Avoid biting or chewing non-food items. Nail-biting or chewing on items such as pencils or ice can harm your teeth and your TMJ due to the unnatural chewing needed.

  • Avoid opening too widely. When biting foods such as apples, cutting them into smaller pieces rather than opening widely and risking trauma to jaw muscles is preferable.

Healthy Posture

You can optimize your health by ensuring that your joints and bones maintain proper alignment and function harmoniously with their supporting muscles. Unfortunately, many people spend a great deal of time sitting on sofas or hunched over a computer. This requires that you hold your body in unnatural and strained positions which negatively affect your posture by misaligning your spine. The result is often a forward head tilt that places stress on neck and jaw muscles, affecting the position of the bones and soft tissue of your temporomandibular joints. Many people get relief from TMJ symptoms after correcting the facial muscle imbalances created by poor posture.

Healthy Jaw Pain Management

Fortunately, most of TMJ disorder’s pain and other symptoms are temporary. They can be relieved with some simple steps, such as:

  • Using hot or cold compresses. While cold is more effective for swelling and inflammation, heat helps alleviate pain from tight and stiff muscles. You can use the one that helps you the most or alternate them throughout the day.

  • Exercising your jaw. Gentle stretching and other exercises can help relieve pain and restore your jaw’s healthy range of motion.

  • Wearing a mouthguard. A custom-made nightguard or mouthguard can help protect your teeth from the damage caused by clenching and grinding. You also relieve the stress on jaw muscles that causes much of the pain from TMJ disorder.

  • Seeking help. If your symptoms do not improve in a few days, you should contact your dentist for an evaluation and treatment.

Schedule Appointment

Contact us at Trident Dental to learn how we can help protect your teeth and smile from the damaging effects of chronic TMJ disorder. 

Schedule Appointment

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