8 Techniques for Managing Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

8 Techniques for Managing Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

Dec 01, 2022

Chewing, talking, yawning, and laughing are everyday facial movements we are used to without really thinking about it. The temporomandibular joints control these movements, connecting the skull to the lower jawbone. Due to factors such as injury, stress, infection, arthritis, bruxism, and dislocation, these joints can malfunction, resulting in temporomandibular joint disorders or dysfunction (TMJ).

Unfortunately, TMJ can cause mild to severe symptoms like jaw pain, neck pain, earaches, toothache, locked jaw, and ear ringing, especially when making facial movements. While most TMJ symptoms don’t last long, some can be severe and require professional treatment like surgery. Sometimes TMJ could be a symptom of a serious health condition that could lead to severe and long-term complications if not corrected promptly.

You should seek treatment to determine the cause and suitable treatment for your condition. Contact our dentist in Weymouth if you have the following symptoms:

  • Jaw pain
  • Headaches
  • Neck or shoulder pain
  • Earaches or ringing in the ears
  • Locking jaws
  • Difficulty opening the mouth wide
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Facial pain or swelling
  • Clicking, grating, or popping jaw sounds when opening or closing the mouth
  • Changes in how your teeth fit together
  • Tooth pain

Common TMJ Relief Techniques

As you wait for professional help or continue with your treatment, there are simple techniques to manage your condition and feel better quicker at home. These include:

  • Minimize jaw movements

In most cases, TMJ symptoms like pain are aggravated by sudden or wide jaw movements. When chewing, avoid hard or chewy foods as they can strain the jaw muscles, worsening the pain and swelling. You can avoid or minimize avoidable movements like opening your mouth too wide, singing, yelling, or yawning. It will keep the jaw muscles relaxed, helping them to recover sooner.

  • Adjust your posture

Since your entire body is connected, simple things like poor sitting posture can aggravate your TMJ symptoms. When sitting, ensure your back has adequate support and take frequent breaks to adjust your posture. When driving, make sure your seat is as upright as possible. You can try these exercises to correct your posture – Raise your chest bone, put your shoulders back, and then squeeze your shoulder blades gently to straighten the back muscles.

  • Get quality sleep

Sleep is essential for many aspects of your overall well-being. Unfortunately, patients with TMJ may experience increased discomfort when sleeping, primarily due to poor sleep positions. Try lying on your back and using a soft pillow to support your neck. Avoid sleeping on your stomach or supporting the jaw with your hand when sleeping on your side.

  • Use heat or cold therapy

Cold therapy is an excellent remedy for pain and swelling. Heat therapy also promotes blood flow, reducing tension and helping your muscles to relax. To do this, place a cold or hot compress on the affected side of the face for about 15 – 20 minutes.

  • Reduce stress

While most underestimate stress, it can lead to severe health problems like TMJ, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, and heart disease if left unchecked. Managing your stress can help minimize your TMJ symptoms. To do this, try yoga and meditation techniques to reduce tension in your jaw and calm your mind.

  • Jaw exercises

There are several jaw exercises that you can use to reduce or manage TMJ. For instance, relaxation, strengthening, and stretch jaw exercises can increase the mobility of the joints and relieve tension, reducing your pain and other symptoms. Consult your doctor about which exercises you can try.

  • Take note of bad habits

A few bad habits can cause or aggravate TMJ. Keep note and avoid bad habits such as:

  • Nail biting
  • Chewing lips and cheeks
  • Resting the jaw in your hand
  • Grinding and clenching your teeth
  • Chewing gum
  • Clenching jaw muscles

Ask your doctor for help if you experience difficulty stopping certain habits. Your doctor can also provide a solution like a night guard to manage bruxism and help prevent TMJ.

  • Take medication

You can consult your doctor or dentist about over-the-counter pain and inflammation medication if other tricks don’t work. The dentist can also prescribe a muscle relaxer to manage the discomfort as they establish a suitable long-term solution. Seek specialty dental care near you if you experience severe symptoms.

Schedule an Appointment Today With Our Dentist in Weymouth, MA

Are you looking for TMJ/TMD Treatment in Weymouth, MA? Schedule a dentist appointment at Weymouth Dental Associates for more information.

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