Poway and Rancho Bernardo, CA
Pain in your body is often a sign that something is wrong. It is the same with consistent and disruptive jaw pain or chronic headaches. The temporomandibular joint connects the lower jaw to the skull’s temporal bone. When the soft tissues and joints relating to the temporal bone become aggrevated, it causes significant pain that could hinder your daily activities requiring immediate attention. The condition is called temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD) and is a manageable condition. Today on the blog, Poway neuromuscular dentist, Dr. Nicol Cook, shares five ways to to help reduce pain related to TMJ disorder.
Stop Chewing Gum
For some people, chewing gum throughout the day or after a meal is a habit. Unfortunately, chewing gum strains the jaw joints, and increases the odds of developing pain related to the TMJ joints. If you struggle with your gum-chewing habit, chew your gum for only for a few minutes, and then dispose of it. Your dentist in Rancho Bernardo, Dr. Cook, also recommends reducing the number of hard or chewy snacks such as licorice, taffy, hard candy, or toffee to decrease your risk of aggravating the jaw joints.
Massaging the masseter muscle could relax the jaw enough to reduce your risk of TMJ disorder. The masseter muscle is found by placing your fingers on the back part of your cheek and biting down. The muscle that flexes outward is the masseter muscle. The masseter is a predominant muscle that aids your jaw with opening and closing. When the tissue becomes tense, it could cause jaw joint pain. By gently massaging the muscles on both sides of your jaw, you can reduce the tension and restore flexibility.
Try to Relax Your Jaw
Whether out of habit or due to daily tension, clenching your jaw may come as a natural response. The action of jaw clenching increases your risk of TMJ pain because of the pressure you are exerting on the jaw joints. When you notice this habit, try to relax your jaw by placing some distance between your teeth. By slightly opening the space between your teeth, you create relaxation in your jaw. In most cases, teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism) occurs while sleeping. If you notice that your jaw joints are sore upon waking up, ask Dr. Cook about a custom oral appliance that you can wear at night to absorb the excessive biting force.
Double Check Your Head Posture
The position of your head could cause conditions that lead to TMJD pain. Your ears should naturally align with your shoulders. If your head leans forward, then you are more susceptible to TMJD pain. Some of the most common causes of your head leaning forward is using your computer, or cellular device for an extended period. To keep your head aligned, Dr. Cook recommends exercising your chin by doing tucks and stretches every morning. Also, by standing upright against a wall, you can experience where your head should naturally rest.
Visit a Neuromuscular Dentist
Neuromuscular dentistry focuses on occlusal equilibrium, which means that your teeth bite together comfortably. A misaligned bite could lead to jaw joint pain or TMJD. Dr. Cook has undergone extensive post-graduate education to properly diagnose and treat TMJD. Using noninvasive treatments, Dr. Cook can provide relief from jaw joint pain.
TMJ Disorder in Poway and Rancho Bernardo, California
The pain associated with TMJ disorder can become unbearable. Therefore, by following the above tips, you could help prevent the condition from occurring and dramatically reduce your risk of pain. If you have tried the above methods or are ready to get to the source of the problem, call Smiles by Dr. Cook today at (858) 673-0141 or request an appointment online for a pain-free TMJD consultation today.