How to Prevent TMJ
By Enchanting Dentistry
July 14, 2016
Category: Uncategorized
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Imagine how often you use your mouth in an average day. Every time you talk, chew, or yawn, you are utilizing temporomandibular joint, which connects your jaw to your skull. Suffice it to say, this joint plays a very important role in your daily life.

However, many people are affected by a disorder called TMJ syndrome (or “TMJ” for short), which affects the joint. TMJ occurs when the joint is damaged. Stress, teeth clenching, gum chewing and poor posture (leaning forward to look at a computer screen, for example, strains the muscles in the jaw and neck) have all been linked to TMJ.

The symptoms vary widely, but pain in the jaw is the most common. Some people experience severe headaches; others report ringing in their ears. If you open your mouth and your jaw clicks or pops when you open your mouth, it could be an indicator that you have TMJ.

How to prevent TMJ

Most people don’t think about preventing TMJ before it’s too late, but there are several simple tips, easy enough to do in your daily routine, that will prevent the painful affliction.

  1. Stress is generally very bad for your health. It raises blood pressure, causes the brain to release cortisol (a chemical known to contribute to weight gain) and cause TMJ. Stress is so prevalent in our professional and personal lives that you may not even be aware that it’s causing you to clench the muscles in your jaw or strain your neck, both of which lead to TMJ. Reducing stress is key in preventing TMJ. Stress-reduction will also lower the risk of other health issues. Go ahead, relax—it’s good for your jaw.
  2. Stress is generally very bad for your health. It raises blood pressure, causes the brain to release cortisol (a chemical known to contribute to weight gain) and cause TMJ. Stress is so prevalent in our professional and personal lives that you may not even be aware that it’s causing you to clench the muscles in your jaw or strain your neck, both of which lead to TMJ. Reducing stress is key in preventing TMJ. Stress-reduction will also lower the risk of other health issues. Go ahead, relax—it’s good for your jaw.
  3. One of the more sinister causes of TMJ is grinding your teeth while you sleep—sinister because you have very little control over it. Subconscious teeth grinding can be caused by stress, but for many, the cause is unknown. Usually, a dentist will be the first to tell you about your teeth grinding issues, and will suggest a mouth guard. Wearing a mouth guard in while you’re asleep is a great method used to prevent TMJ.
  4. Avoid eating hard or difficult-to-chew foods. Crunching ice, for example, is a guilty pleasure for many, but terrible on your teeth and jaw. Chewing gum excessively has also been known to cause TMJ. Being mindful of what you eat will help you prevent TMJ.
  5. Jaw exercises can help reduce the tightness that leads to TMJ. By applying gentle resistance to your jaw with your hand while trying to open your mouth will reduce tightness and strengthen muscles. Increasing your jaw strength is a good way to prevent TMJ.

Treating TMJ

The good news for people with TMJ is that there are many remedies. For minor symptoms, ice packs against the jaw and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs will relieve the pain. If the symptoms persist, schedule a free consultation from Enchanting Dentistry. Our medical professionals can outfit you with a mouth guard to prevent grinding, administer ultrasound nerve stimulation, or, in extreme cases, recommend surgery.

Don’t let TMJ negatively affect your life. By taking a few precautionary measures, you can prevent TMJ symptoms. Enchanting Dentistry is also a leading TMJ dentist who can work with you to alleviate any discomfort, leaving you with the beautiful, healthy and pain-free smile you deserve.

 

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