Place the tips of your fingers on both sides of your face, just below the earlobes. Now slowly open and close your mouth. You should feel your TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, in action. The TMJ joins the lower part of the jaw to the rest of the skull. It is tiny, but due to the varied actions — chewing, yawning, talking — it is expected to perform, it is one of the most complex joints in the body, combining a sliding and a hinge motion.
When your TMJ is working smoothly, you probably don’t even think about the fact it is there. And that’s a good thing. Because when it does begin to give you trouble, it will be impossible to ignore. The pain can be persistent and debilitating with a medley of symptoms, yet exceedingly difficult to pinpoint and treat.
If you’ve been experiencing jaw pain or other symptoms of TMJ disorder (also called TMD), call the Clinton Township, MI office of Dobry Dental at 586-210-6828. We have dental solutions designed to bring your TMJ back to health.
Be Good to Your TMJ
You can help heal your TMJ (or prevent issues from occurring in the first place) by treating it well at home. Here are a few tips for a strong, pain-free temporomandibular joint!
Avoid grinding or clenching your teeth, which not only can wear down your enamel and damage your gums, but can put pressure on your jaw, leading to TMD. Stress is a common underlying cause of teeth grinding. Try to eliminate sources of stress or try out meditation or other relaxation techniques. If you clench your teeth while sleeping, we can craft a custom mouth guard that can keep your jaw in a healing position at night. Try to keep your facial muscles in a relaxed state.
Don’t Tax Your Jaw
Avoid doing things that stress or overwork your jaw, like eating crunchy, gummy, or hard foods and chewing gum. Take small bites and chew using both sides of your mouth. Don’t chew ice or non-food objects like pencils or your fingernails.
Massage and Exercise
Keep your jaw, head, and neck relaxed with frequent gentle massage. Stretch your muscles regularly. Be conscientious about using good posture.
How Do I Know if I Have TMD?
Unike many other oral health issues, TMD is tricky to diagnose because the symptoms are so varied and aren’t necessarily obviously connected to the TMJ. If any of the following apply to you, you may have TMJ disorder.
- Clicking or popping noises when you open your jaw
- Inability to open or close your jaw, or limited range of motion
- Pain or difficulty when chewing or yawning
- Pain or tiredness in the facial muscles
- Earache without infection
- Pain or soreness in the neck or shoulders
- Facial swelling
- A change in your bite, or how your teeth fit together
At Dobry Dental, We Can Help Your TMJ Pain
If you live in the Clinton Township, MI area and believe you may have TMJ disorder, we can help you bring your jaw back to health with advice and a custom mouthguard. To schedule a consultation, call us at 586-210-6828 or contact us online today!