Tips for relieving jaw pain and other symptoms of TMJ disorder
The temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, are among the most complex joints in the body. They are responsible for moving your jaw in all directions so you can properly eat, speak, smile, and make other facial expressions. Unfortunately, millions of people suffer from TMJ disorder each year, living with symptoms that cause pain and disrupt their quality of life. Fortunately, valuable tips exist that help in relieving jaw pain and other symptoms of TMJ disorder.
Relieve stress on the TMJs by making small lifestyle modificationsOne of the first steps to try and relieve your TMJ pain is to reduce any excess stress on the joints where possible. This includes:
- Avoiding chewing gum
- Not chewing on hard objects such as ice or pencils
- Minimizing wide jaw movements, such as yawning
- Eating softer foods and avoiding very chewy or hard foods
- Keeping your mouth in an open position with the lips closed rather than biting your teeth together at all times
Try stress relief strategiesSome patients experience TMJ pain when stressed because it can increase tension in the surrounding muscles and contribute to habits, such as teeth clenching or grinding, that are more prevalent under stress. Try out various stress management techniques such as yoga, meditation, or walking to see if they can help relieve tension.
Talk to a trusted dentistIf at-home remedies and lifestyle modifications are not providing relief, it may be time to talk to your dentist. A dentist who understands TMJ disorder can help diagnose the underlying cause of the condition, which is often key to finding effective solutions.
- In certain instances, simple treatments such as a nightguard to stop clenching and grinding or a splint to properly align your jaw is all that is needed to alleviate your pain.
- Botox injections can also be effective at relieving pain in the TMJs.
- In other cases, damage to the joints may require more intensive treatment, such as surgery.
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