Medical science is advancing by the minute, but it cannot always prevent you from developing the pesky condition of TMJ.
TMJ is shorten for temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders. It is a group of conditions that cause dysfunction in the jaw joint and surrounding muscles that control jaw movement. Estimates suggest that TMJ disorders affect over 10 million Americans, more women than men, and many patients come in to the office complaining about pain from the condition.
Symptoms linked to TMJ vary from pain while chewing, jaw muscle stiffness, locking of the jaw, and painful popping or grating in the jaw joint when moving the mouth.
TMJ is painful, yet treatable. Here at the office of Dr. Mark Reichman we have some tips to help avoid and manage this painful jaw condition.
Practice healthy posture
Did you know that poor posture has been linked to development of TMJ?
Healthy posture doesn’t always mean you need to sit up straight all the time. Good posture is about maintaining proper alignment of the three natural curves of the spine. When sitting, standing up, or walking, try to maintain a slight curve at the base of the neck
Sleeping with a good posture is also effective. Tuck a pillow between your knees, and then rest on your back or on your side to support the spine. This can prevent TMJ symptoms.
The foods you eat may help prevent some nagging TMJ symptoms.
Because softer foods are easier on your jaw, consider adding more oatmeal, soup, and yogurt to your diet. Crunchy, tough foods, such as such as gum, taffy, and raw vegetables (these are good for your teeth, however!), can aggravate the joint and cause swelling.
The way you eat is also important. Take smaller bites, avoiding the the big bites that sometimes cause your jaw to freeze and lock.
What Else Can You Do?
Regularly massaging the jaw, cheek and temple muscles with your fingertips can alleviate or prevent symptoms. Applying ice or heat paks can help when you experience spasms.
Some patients clench and grind their teeth, which worsens TMJ. Discuss this issue with your dentist to target this problem.
We’ve all heard it before, but work on your stress level. People subconsciously respond to stress by clenching their teeth, so try meditation, yoga, and massage as therapeutic relief.
See your Dentist
Dr. Mark Indrek Reichman is a certified specialist in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery from Vancouver who specializes in a variety of services. Make an appointment today!