Avoiding TMJ Pain: Five Tips

 In Preventative Dentistry

You may not be aware, but the discomfort you sometimes feel in your temporomandibular joints (TMJ) is entirely preventable. That pain usually manifests because of inflammation, injury, or overuse, making it difficult to open and close your mouth. But we’re here to reveal some things you can do so you don’t have to live with this ache. With these five tips for avoiding TMJ pain, you can finally find relief and prevent future flare-ups.

Best Practices for Avoiding TMJ Pain

Using the following tips can help reduce the amount of stress placed on your temporomandibular joints, allowing them to heal. You’ll also notice an improvement in jaw function, so you can comfortably perform everyday movements, such as eating, drinking, speaking, or smiling.

Manage your stress levels

Generally, stress is bad for your health, and it’s tough on your TMJ, causing you to grind or clench your teeth. We recommend trying meditation, yoga, and massage techniques to calm your mind and relax your jaw.

Adjust your posture

Slouching and sitting in an awkward position for an extended amount of time can cause TMJ pain. That’s because the jaw is closely related to posture. Your jaw works best when you’re in an upright position with your head sitting directly above your cervical spine. Once you become mindful of your posture and improve how you sit and stand with specific exercises, you’ll notice decreased TMJ pain.

Check your bad habits

Biting your nails or excessive chewing on things like gum or a pen usually results in jaw pain. Other bad habits include:

  • Resting your jaw in your hand
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Clenching your jaw muscles
  • Chewing the inside of your cheeks and lips

If you take notice of your habits that may be contributing to your discomfort, you can develop a strategy to lose them along with the pain.

Consider wearing a mouth guard or an oral splint

Mouth guards and oral splints are beneficial treatments for TMJ pain. Commonly worn at night, the mouth guard can prevent teeth clenching or grinding, while the splint helps to keep your jaw in a relaxed, comfortable position. Ask your medical provider which device is suitable for you.

Strengthen and relax your jaw

Targeted exercises for your jaw are a great way to avoid TMJ pain. There are three types of exercises you can do: stretching, strengthening, and relaxation. This way, you could prevent any flare-ups by enhancing mobility in your joints and relaxing the muscles in your jaw.

You can stretch and relax your jaw at any time, but we suggest practicing the strengthening exercises in moderation and when you’re not already experiencing a flare-up. Otherwise, you could end up aggravating the pain by placing too much strain on your jaw.

If you would like to know more about how you can avoid TMJ pain, contact us, South Holston Dental Designs, for further assistance. We can help you assess the underlying causes of your discomfort and provide you with the best treatment options.

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