TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is the area in your jaw that allows your mouth to open and close. If you have TMJ disorder, it is when there is a displacement of the disc and muscle. This can be caused by a number of different things. Most commonly, it is caused by grinding your teeth. Most people that do this do so unconsciously. Read on for some tips to both prevent and treat TMJ disorder.
Preventing TMJ Disorder
If you can prevent TMJ disorder, you should do what you can to do so. TMJ disorder can cause a number of problems for you such as pain while chewing your food (or even at rest), headaches, dizziness, ear pain or neck and back pain. Prevent TMJ disorder by:
- Never chew on anything other than food. This means no chewing on pencils, fingernails, or anything else that isn't food (including gum). This extra movement of the jaw can wear out the muscles and disc in the joint.
- Keep stress levels down to prevent teeth grinding at night or during the day.
- Never drink caffeine before bed, as this may cause you to grind or clench your teeth and jaw at night.
Treating TMJ Disorder
If you do have TMJ disorder, you may have noticed a clicking noise when eating or feel the pain as mentioned above. Your dentist (or physician) may have diagnosed you with TMJ disorder. If you feel that you may have this disorder and have not seen your dentist or physician, be sure to make an appointment right away to prevent any further damage to your jaw or to your teeth. Treatment is up to your physician, but there are things you can do to help treat your TMJ and prevent it from worsening
- Eat soft foods until your TMJ heals. Anything too chewy could aggravate your symptoms.
- Exercise to reduce stress levels. Exercise releases endorphins, which can reduce stress.
- Wear a mouth guard at night if you are someone that grinds or clenches your teeth at night. You can find mouth guards at your local pharmacy.
- Stop biting your nails if you are a nail biter. If you bite your nails due to anxiety issues, talk to your physician about something you can do to ease your anxiety.
TMJ disorder can be very painful. Talk to your physician about your symptoms to be diagnosed and to start treatment right away. Treatment may be as simple as wearing a night guard or could involve therapy, Botox injections, or even surgery. For more information, contact a company like The Alpher Center.