Do's and Don'ts for TMJ Pain

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011, 9:17 am

Jaw pain, headaches, neck pain, jaw stiffness or “locking” and even ear discomfort are symptoms of a problem with the jaw joint. Many people refer to this as “TMJ” (for temporomandibular joint) or “TMD” which stands for temporomandibular joint dysfunction. There are many causes but here are a few tips to help manage your condition.

  • DO practice Lips Together, Teeth Apart to place your jaw in a good resting position
  • DO chew on both sides of your mouth when eating
  • DO drink from a straw, drinking from a glass protrudes your lower jaw
  • DO use ice packs for pain and inflammation, remember only 15 minutes on, 15 minutes off
  • DO check your posture when sitting at a desk or watching TV

Now for the things to avoid:

  • DON’T chew ice – it is one of the worst things you can do
  • DON’T rest your head in your hand when sitting at a desk or watching TV
  • DON’T chew gum, ever.
  • DON’T chew tough foods such as steak, raw vegetables (no salads), nuts, chewy candy. When your jaw is inflamed you should avoid any food harder than cooked pasta.
  • DON’T test your jaw opening by opening wide or sliding from side to side. You will further damage and irritate the jaw joint, let it rest.

It is extremely important for TMD patients to get proper rest and nutrition. While salads and raw vegetables are off the menu you should eat plenty of cooked veggies and easy to eat proteins. For many people these lifestyle changes may be temporary as their condition improves, for others these may be life-long changes.

Treatment for TMD also involves wearing a custom orthotic device that is created by your dentist. This device will help keep your jaw in its optimal position allowing the muscles to relax. Because many patients with TMD also grind their teeth at night this device will protect your teeth from damage.

If you suffer from  headaches, facial  or jaw pain please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa today to schedule your evaluation. We can be reached at 706-886-9439 and we can help alleviate your pain.

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Category: TMJ

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