The Do’s and Don’ts for TMJ Patients
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders occur when the temporomandibular joint (which connects the jaw and temporal bones) is inhibited due to problems with the jaw or facial muscles. The disorder is commonly referred to as TMD or TMJ and often requires TMJ treatment.
If you’re a TMJ patient, you may be experiencing symptoms such as pain and tenderness in the face and surrounding areas, difficulties opening your mouth, tinnitus, facial swelling, toothaches, headaches, and difficulty chewing.
While it’s not entirely clear what causes TMJ, it’s believed that symptoms are caused by problems with the joint or muscles – which can occur from injuries in the joint, jaw, neck or head, from whiplash, teeth grinding, facial arthritis, or clenching the muscles out of stress. It’s important to understand TMJ so you can learn to manage your symptoms and discover what TMJ treatments are out there.
Don’t….Do Super Strong Jaw Movements
If you’re dealing with TMJ, it’s best to avoid doing really strong or extreme jaw movements. This can make the problem worse, and if you’re trying to feel better you should give your jaw some time to relax.
Don’t….Clench your Teeth Together
As previously mentioned, clenching your teeth together when you have TMJ can irritate your pain and make it worse. It’s best to keep your teeth relaxed yet slightly apart. A night guard can help with this.
Do….Choose your Food Consciously
Hard foods may be painful to chew and break down, and they can make your symptoms worse even if you’re already doing TMJ pain treatment. It’s best to eat soft foods, such as potatoes, oats, yogurt, and cooked meat and vegetables, that you know won’t cause problems.
Do….Practice Relaxation Techniques
A lot of us unknowingly clench our muscles when we’re feeling stressed or experiencing pain – but this can make your symptoms worse. Practice techniques such as meditation and yoga to reduce tension in your jaw and relax your mouth.
Do…Consider Getting a Night Guard
Grinding teeth together is a very common phenomenon that a night guard can fix. Even if it’s not the cause for your TMJ the guard will help separate your top and lower sets of teeth, which can relieve tension and pain in the mouth.
Do….Speak to a Dental Health Professional
If you’re dealing with TMJ it’s important to speak with a dental health professional to discuss your options. There are different types of TMJ disorder treatments to decrease pain and restore the jaw’s normal function, from different types of surgery to muscle relaxers to pain relievers.
At Markham 7 Dental we have licensed professionals who understand TMJ and offer TMJ treatment options. Book a consultation to discover your options and figure out what’s right for you.