8 Best Practices to Help Manage Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

8 Best Practices to Help Manage Temporomandibular Joint Disorders

Aug 01, 2022

Are you having trouble yawning, chewing, talking, and even laughing because of jaw pain? If you are, there’s a high chance that your temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is out of whack! When the temporomandibular joint is not functioning as it should, it could be a nightmare to enjoy simple things such as laughing.

The name of the joint could be a mouthful, but it is a critical joint that might affect the quality of your life. If chewing is affected, then your overall well-being could be at stake, so you need to visit our dentist in Cupertino, CA, to receive treatment.

There are several ways that TMJ disorder could be treated. We will look at some of the best ways in just a bit. But first, let’s get acquainted with the TMJ and TMD.

Understanding TMJ and TMD

Whenever you come across the acronym TMJ, you should always know that it stands for temporomandibular joint disorder. This joint is on either side of your face, close to the ears, and links the lower jaw to your skull. Its primary function is to allow the movement of the lower jaw. In other words, it is responsible for allowing you to open your mouth and move your jaw from left to right.

However, due to trauma to the jaw, certain illnesses, or even bad posture, the joint can stop functioning as it should. When this happens, you will exhibit several symptoms such as popping sounds when you open your mouth, pain when moving the jaw, headaches, etc. If the condition doesn’t subside in a few days, then there is a chance that you have developed temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD).

At times, people mistakenly interchange TMJ and TMD. But as mentioned earlier, TMJ is the joint, and TMD is the disorder that affects the TMJ.

People experience variations of the disorder, and symptoms may not last more than a few days. In contrast, others have chronic symptoms that, without TMJ disorder treatment, the symptoms will not varnish.

How to Manage TMJ Disorders

If your symptoms are not severe, TMJ pain relief is possible without surgery. At times, if the issue isn’t chronic, the symptoms might vanish after a few days. Either way, here are eight ways that can you relieve pain in your TMJ:

  • Correct Your Posture

Sitting in an unideal posture for a long time can cause you to feel more pain. If your work requires you to sit for long hours, ensure your chair has back support. Also, take frequent breaks to improve your posture.

When you are driving, ensure that you place your sit in an upright position. Also, when you are relaxing, watching T.V, or enjoying leisure activities, you should choose a space that allows you to sit upright and then place a pillow behind your back.

  • Maintain the Resting Position of Your Jaw

Most of the time, you will feel more pain when you move your jaw. So, you need to minimize jaw movements such as chewing and talking to help alleviate the pain. The point is to ensure that your muscles are relaxed as possible.

  • Reduce Stress

Try yoga practices such as meditation or any other activity to help loosen and relax your jaw. These practices can reduce stress on your muscles since they calm your mind and facial muscles.

  • Get a Good Night’s Rest

We cannot stress enough how much sleep is essential for healing. To help minimize your pain during sleep, you can sleep on your back and support your neck using pillows. Try not to lie on your belly; if you prefer sleeping on your side, don’t place your hand on your jaw.

  • Exercise Your Jaw

Jaw exercises are good and can help alleviate jaw pain by increasing mobility in the TMJ. You can try stretching, strengthening, and relaxation exercises.

  • Use a Hot or Cold Compress

Heat increases blood flow to your jaw and relaxes the jaw muscles. On the other hand, ice reduces swelling and pain. So you can use both of them, alternating between them at 15 to 20-minute intervals. Remember to place a light layer between the skin and the compress.

  • Avoid Certain Foods and Activities

Specific foods and activities can cause you to move your jaw or open your mouth forcefully. So, you might have to avoid yelling, hard or crunchy foods, chewing gum, taking large bites of food, and foods that require prolonged chewing.

  • Take Notice of Bad Habits

Certain habits can cause TMJ pain, such as clenching your teeth, chewing cheeks and lips, nail-biting, clenching jaw muscles, grinding your teeth, resting your jaw in your hand, etc.

Take note of your daily patterns; you might solve the problem. You can contact our dentist at Cupertino Family Dental if you need TMJ treatment near you.

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