Maintaining your dental health can be tough enough, but having the TMJ disorder on top of everything can make things even more frustrating. For those of you who are unfamiliar with it TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, is when the joints inside your jaw become misaligned with your teeth. It can cause headaches, popping noises, lower mouth discomfort and even pain in the face and neck. While there is no quick or easy way to fix this issue, there are practices that you can do to give your jaw some relief.
The first thing you can do is try to maintain decent posture. After all, we are connected together through our spine, back, neck and head and things like standing up straight can make a big difference. Having the wrong posture can draw extra stress on our head and jaw areas specifically, and this is something that you should try to correct. Slouching while you sit or stand is the key thing to avoid, and sleeping in a position that doesn’t involve being on your stomach will help as well.
The second thing that you can do to try to help a TMJ condition is to control your tongue. When a tongue is in its correct and natural rest position, it is gently resting on top of the roof of your mouth. If you notice that your tongue is pressing against your teeth in your rest position, then it may be time to start retraining yourself to place it on the roof of your mouth. The reason this works is because when you are subconsciously pressing it against your teeth, you are causing your jaw some unnecessary stress that can wear it out faster and bring on TMJ symptoms.
People who suffer from TMJ know all too well that extra stress can make it much worse. During such times people tense up, clench their hands and feet and their jaw. You might greatly benefit from finding a little time each day to just mentally and physically relax and let your body parts distress for a few minutes. Practicing this kind of technique will help you learn to release that extra tension, and when you are aware of yourself clenching your jaw you know how to allow it to rest properly. The key thing for stress is to be aware when it’s happening and not to let it take control over your whole body.
In addition to having TMJ, grinding your teeth at night can be another detriment. Grinding teeth applies that same extra pressure on your jaw, and a good solution might be to find a decent mouth guard. Many dentists offer them, but they can be rather expensive to have custom made. However, there is a cheaper and just as useful generic brand of mouth guards that you can pick up from your local Walgreens or other similar convenience stores. The way it works is that it comes as a blank pallet that you boil in hot water to get the mold soft, and then you bite down into it to create the shape of your mouth permanently into it. These are a great option as they only cost around $20, and they will fit into your mouth perfectly and make it comfortable to sleep with. While they may only last a few months to a couple years, they may also help prevent your TMJ symptoms from getting worse.
Written by Dr. Darren Wittenberger, the best orthodontist Columbia MO has to offer, and owner of his own practice, Advance Orthodontics. Dr. Wittenberger enjoys sharing his expertise to ensure people can maintain the healthiest, straightest teeth possible!