It can be difficult to enjoy life if you are constantly having headaches, pain while eating and even talking, and tenderness in the jaw and face. If you’ve noticed these symptoms, you may have TMJ disorder, which is a dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint. Your dentist will be able to diagnose the problem and offer a solution (such as replacing missing teeth), but there are also some things you can do (and avoid) to help your TMJ.
What causes TMJ?
Your TMJ may be caused by a number of different things or even a combination of factors. It can be genetic or caused by a connective tissue disease, an injury to the jaw, constant teeth grinding, or even a misalignment of teeth, which can happen if you are missing a tooth and your other teeth are moving around. TMJ causes stress on your jaw and facial muscles. Other symptoms of TMJ include a popping or clicking sound when you open or close your mouth, pain in and around the ear, and the jaw “locking up.” You may also feel as if your top and bottom teeth are out of alignment.
What can you do about TMJ?
You can try an over-the-counter pain reliever, and many people find relief when they use a heating pad on the jaw. You should also make sure to avoid:
1. Smoking, which can aggravate arthritis, which can make TMJ worse.
2. Eating foods that are difficult to chew, such as chewy candy or bagels.
3. Stress, which is easier said than done, of course! However, you may have noticed how stress makes TMJ worse by tensing up the muscles in the head, neck, and jaw.
4. Bad posture, which can trigger pain if you are standing or sitting with poor posture for a long period of time.
5. Using your teeth as tools, such as for opening packages.
6. Chewing on hard objects such as pens and pencils.
If you have TMJ symptoms and it is difficult for you to find relief, Dr. Samuel Jirik can help. Contact the Cabot, Arkansas office at (501) 843-9561 to make an appointment today!