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Managing TMJ Jaw Pain: The Do’s and Don’ts

Suffering from Temporomandibular Joint or TMJ disorder is painful. This occurs when the temporomandibular joint (acting as a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull, ) is inhibited due to problems with the jaw or facial muscles. We understand just how difficult it can be to manage your pain.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of TMJ?

If you are a TMJ patient, then symptoms such as pain and tenderness in the face and difficulty opening your mouth are common. Other signs and symptoms are:

What are the Do's and Don'ts for Managing TMJ Jaw Pain?

Aside from having a Doral TMJ treatment or a Coral Gables TMJ treatment, it is important to understand some do’s and don’ts for relieving and managing temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain from the comfort of your own home. To help TMJ patients, here are some Do’s and Don’ts, from iSmile Gables and iSmile Doral by Dr. Sonia Olivares, that could save you from the tremendous pain that you will encounter.

TMJ Jaw Pain: DO’s

1. Do: Think about your posture.

Sitting in an incorrect posture for an extended period of time might increase jaw pain. When working, choose a back-supporting chair and take regular rests to enhance your posture. While driving, adjust your seat to the upright position, and while engaging in leisure activities such as watching TV, using a computer or cellphone, or reading, pick a spot that helps you to sit straight and support yourself with a cushion behind your back.

Always keep your posture in mind and be conscious of your neck and shoulders. To fix your sitting or standing posture, you must exercise to raise your chest bone, draw your shoulders back, and compress your shoulder blades lightly to help your back muscles straighten.

2. Do: Have a comfortable sleeping position for your jaw.

Reevaluate your sleeping position. Is it comfortable? Are you sleeping awkwardly? Your sleeping position might also cause TMJ discomfort and possibly prevent you from getting enough sleep. For example, sleeping on your stomach might place additional strain on your jaw. Additionally, if you want to sleep on your side, avoid resting your hand on your jaw. If you wake up with jaw discomfort in the morning, consider sleeping on your back to assist ease jaw strain. These may seem like minor changes to make, but implementing them into your everyday routine can help you manage your TMJ jaw pain.

3. Do: Avoid certain activities and consider the food you eat.

Repetitive jaw movement may increase TMJ discomfort such as yawning or yelling while eating overly crunchy foods such as corn on the cob, raw carrots, crackers, and almonds can cause jaw pain for hours or even days. If your jaw aches during or after meals, or if you hear a clicking sound while chewing, avoid crunchy foods. When you prepare your meals, alternatively, chop items into smaller pieces that are simpler to chew and won’t strain your jaw. Consider eating softer foods such as steamed vegetables, yogurt, oatmeal, eggs, soft fruit, and soup. Putting thought into your meals before you consume them can certainly prevent you from experiencing superfluous pain.

4. Do: Compress the area with hot or cold compress.

Ice aids in the reduction of swelling and pain, while heat increases blood flow and relaxes your jaw muscles. Apply a hot or cold compress on your jaw for 15–20 minutes at a time, ensuring that a thin layer of air exists between the compress and your skin.

5. Do: Reduce stress.

Consider using meditation techniques to assist in loosening and relaxing your jaw. Yoga techniques may also assist alleviate muscular tension, and gardening is an excellent way to clear your thoughts and relax your face.

6. Do: Exercise your jaw.

Jaw exercises may assist in increasing joint mobility. Three distinct kinds of jaw exercises may be combined to alleviate pain:

7. Do: Take note of bad habits.

You may have a few habits that cause your TMJ discomfort. Among these behaviors are the following:

TMJ Jaw Pain: DO’s

1. Don't: Ignore signs and symptoms.

TMD(Temporomandibular Disorders) symptoms include ear discomfort, headaches, teeth grinding, disorientation, and neck and back pain. Yet, because these symptoms are so common, several patients are unaware that their discomfort is connected to TMD which results in ignoring these symptoms. If you feel that you have TMD, you should see a TMJ expert immediately. Early identification and treatment may avert the deterioration of TMD symptoms.

2. Don't: Clench your jaw.

Bruxism (teeth grinding or clenching) is quite common for a lot of people. Especially in times of stress, this habit might be formed subconsciously. The problem is, not only does it cause premature wear and tear of your teeth but it also puts pressure on the TMJ, resulting in jaw pain, earaches, headaches, and other symptoms. Throughout the day, check your resting jaw position, your teeth should be slightly parted, your lips and your tongue should be relaxed in your mouth.

Consider using a mouth guard if you fear you clench or grind your teeth while sleeping. Certain factors can trigger teeth clenching and grinding, if you have a difficult time managing stress, that should be a concern for a stress specialist or a psychiatrist.

3. Don't: Chew on hard objects.

When you chew on hard or stiff things like your nails, pencils, pens, or ice, it forces you to thrust your jaw forward, which typically increases TMJ pain that is difficult to relieve.

4. Don't: Take-over-the-counter painkillers

It is common for individuals suffering from headaches, ear, or jaw discomfort to use over-the-counter medications to alleviate their symptoms. Unfortunately, they often give just temporary pain relief and do nothing to control symptoms over time.

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder Treatment by Dr. Sonia Olivares

If everything has been done and you still experience extreme pain, then it’s time to get a TMJ treatment. Seek help from the best Doral General dentistry and Gables General dentistry. Dr. Sonia Olivares offers comprehensive treatment options for patients suffering from TMJ dysfunction, headaches, jaw pain, and other TMJ-related problems. Dr. Sonia Olivares will work with you to analyze the function of your entire occlusal systems like your teeth, gums, and jaw joints for a more accurate diagnosis and treatment planning to restore oral health and alleviate your pain or discomfort.

What to Expect?

Improper bite alignment and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems can cause pain as well as deterioration of teeth and supporting structures. Dr. Olivares evaluates all patients for TMJ dysfunction as part of comprehensive treatment planning at her Doral dental spa. Because no two patients are alike, there is no single course of treatment for TMJ dysfunction. Depending on your condition, Dr. Olivares may prescribe a combination of TMJ treatments for optimal results.

Are you looking for a dental spa that offers treatment for TMJ dysfunction in Miami, Doral, Brickell, and Coral Gables, Florida? Schedule an appointment today with Dr. Sonia Olivares. Call us at (305) 620-8272 (iSmile Doral), 8353 NW 36th St. Doral, FL 33166, and (305) 396-1026 (iSmile Gables), 2725 Ponce de Leon Blvd. Coral Gables, FL 33134.