If you have any issues with your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, a popping or snapping sound when chewing or moving your jaw is a common symptom. While some people experience jaw popping for a very short time without any accompanying pain or discomfort, others may have a temporomandibular joint disorder. Continue reading to learn more…
What Habits Can Help Alleviate TMJ?
The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the sliding, hinge-like joints that connect your upper jaw to the lower half of your jaw. They are engaged whenever your lower jaw moves, like when you chew or speak. Many factors can contribute to a person developing issues with their TMJ, like a bad bite, trauma, or bad habits like teeth grinding.
People with TMJ issues often experience symptoms like pain, headaches, and difficulty moving their mouths. Getting rid of bad habits that irritate their temporomandibular joints can help to alleviate the symptoms of TMJ disorders. Forming good habits that promote healthy function of the temporomandibular joints also has the same effect.
Habits that help reduce symptoms of TMJ disorders
The following are some new habits you can form to help reduce the pain, inflammation, and discomfort caused by TMJ issues:
- Sticking to less chewy foods: Chewy or hard foods that require lots of chewing can aggravate the temporomandibular joints. People dealing with TMJ issues should stick to softer, less chewy foods to avoid putting unnecessary stress on their joints. They should also avoid chewing gum since that also puts stress on their temporomandibular joint. Discontinuing bad habits like chewing on your fingernails can also help to reduce the stress placed on your temporomandibular joint
- Use a mouth guard: People who have habits like teeth grinding should consider wearing a nightguard while they sleep. The nightguard reduces the pressure placed on the wearer’s teeth while they grind their teeth. It helps to reduce the damage caused by teeth grinding, and it also reduces the pressure placed on the temporomandibular joint
- Making a point not to use teeth as tools: Many people have bad habits like chewing on ice, biting their fingernails, or using their teeth as a bottle opener. Such habits put unnatural stress on teeth and can damage their structures. Using teeth for tasks they are not designed for also puts undue stress on them
- Jaw exercises: Dentists can also teach their patients some mouth and lip exercises that exercise the temporomandibular joints and the muscles around them. These exercises can be as simple as opening and closing your mouth repeatedly. Performing such exercises helps to provide relief from the symptoms of TMJ
Changing your habits can help reduce the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorders, but it does not give the patient a permanent solution. To achieve that, a dentist needs to diagnose the root cause of the patient’s condition so appropriate treatments can be performed. Some of the treatments that can be used to address TMJ issues include bite realignment treatment (if the TMJ issues are caused by a bad bite); surgical treatments like arthrocentesis; and open-joint surgery, which is often reserved for the most severe cases.
Put your TMJ issues behind you
Tired of simple tasks like eating causing you pain and discomfort? Give us a call or visit our Trophy Club dental clinic to set up an appointment.
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