If you suffer from TMJ then pain is no secret to you. The temporomandibular joint functions as a hinge connecting your jaw to the temporal bones in your skull. Any major dysfunction to this joint can create a laundry list of complications ranging from annoying to incredibly painful, including lockjaw, frequent headaches, trouble chewing, dizziness, and even migraines. Worse, even if the pain recedes, it can flare back up again frequently.
For those in the thick of TMJ pain, then this guide is for you.
Change Your Diet
Although the root cause of TMJ has been hotly contested, and may even vary from patient to patient, the inflammation that can be seen in the jaw during a TMJ flare up is not. Often suggested for many other maladies, an anti-inflammatory diet can help reduce swelling in the body and jaw, helping your body to heal itself. Foods such as turmeric, broccoli, and ginger have been known to reduce inflammation, but perhaps more important is avoiding things that cause it, such as alcohol, smoking, sugar, starch, and red meat.
No More Gum
Your body wants to heal your joint. The problem occurs when you continually damage it over and over. Chewing gum with TMJ is like pitching with a sprained wrist or working out a muscle group two days in a row. Your body needs a recovery period to properly do its job. The same goes for high-impact foods such as popcorn or candy.
Try “Working Out”
A recent study published in the Journal of Dental Research, found that therapeutic jaw exercises can significantly help with mouth-opening mobility, pain and pain intensity experienced throughout a day. Much like physical therapy, engaging in these exercises can help build muscle to compensate for the joint.
Some exercises include:
- Relaxed Jaw – Allowing your mouth to come apart while your tongue rests behind your front teeth.
- Resistance Training – Placing your thumb under your chin, try opening your mouth as slowly as possible while offering resistance.
- Side-to-Side– With a firm but not hard quarter inch object between your teeth, slowly move your jaw side to side for thirty second increments.
Meet With Your Dentist
If you’re still having problems managing your TMJ pain, then it’s time to visit with an expert. Left untreated, TMJ is a progressive disorder that will only get worse. Not all TMJ is the same, and by scheduling an appointment, you’re seeking professional care with someone who can attend to your specific situation.
If you would like to speak with a neuromuscular dentist in Wilmington, NC, please call (910) 392-6060 or email Kuzma Advanced Dentistry.