TMJ is the joint that connects the lower and upper jaw. The term TMJ stands
for Temporo-mandibular Joint. This is one of the most complex joints in the
entire body, capable of forward and backward movement, rotations, and
side-to-side movements. TMJ often refers to complications and problems with this
joint. Some of the most common symptoms of TMJ problems are:
- Limited movement of the lower jaw
- Clicking sounds
- Muscle spasms
- Locking of the jaw
Some potential causes of the disease include genetics, hormones, low-level
infections, auto-immune diseases, trauma, and clenching or grinding of the
teeth. Diagnosis and evaluation of such conditions are performed by dentists
experienced in TMJ problems and treatments. Some common treatments are Night
Guards, Bite Guards, and Bite Adjustments. Your dentist can guide you toward the
best treatment for you.
If you experience any TMJ problems or symptoms please let us know. The doctor
will be happy to evaluate your situation and offer the best treatment possible.
SELF-MANAGEMENT FOR TMJ AND JAW
We use our mouths for many activities: talking,
eating, yawning, laughing, etc. When we are not engaged
in these, we need to allow our jaw muscles and joints to
relax. Many people have developed habits that do not
permit their jaw muscles or joints to relax
sufficiently. The steps listed below will help you learn
how to relax these muscles and joints—and reduce the jaw
pain you are experiencing.
Use hot or cold packs.
Apply moist heat, ice or a combination of the two to the
painful area(s). Most people prefer heat, but if that
increases your pain, use either the combination or the
- Apply moist heat for 20 minutes two to four
times each day. OR
- Use the combination of heat and ice two to four
times each day. OR
- Apply ice wrapped in a thin washcloth to the
painful area until you begin to feel some numbness
(usually in about 10 minutes), then remove it.
2. Eat soft foods.
Confine your diet to soft foods such as casseroles,
canned fruit, soups, eggs and yogurt. Do not chew gum or
eat hard foods (such as raw carrots) or chewy foods
(such as caramels, steak, or bagels).
Rest your jaw muscles.
Keep your teeth apart and practice good posture.
- When you are not chewing, your teeth should
never touch (except occasionally when you swallow).
Closely monitor your jaw position for signs of
clenching. Try placing your tongue lightly on the
top of your mouth behind your upper front teeth,
allowing the teeth to come apart and relaxing the
- Good head, neck and back posture help you
maintain good jaw posture. Try to hold your head up
straight, and use a small pillow or rolled towel to
support your lower back. Avoid habits such as
resting your jaw on your hand or cradling the
telephone against your shoulder.
4. Avoid caffeine.
Caffeine stimulates your muscles to contract
and, therefore, become more tense. Caffeine or
caffeine-like drugs are in coffee, tea, most sodas, and
chocolate. Decaffeinated coffee also has some caffeine.
5. Watch your
habits. Avoid oral habits that put
strain on the jaw muscles and joints. These include,
among others, clenching the teeth; grinding the teeth (bruxism);
touching or resting the teeth together; biting your
cheeks, your lips or objects you put in your mouth;
pushing the tongue against the teeth; and tensing the
smart. Avoid sleeping habits that strain
your jaw muscles or joints. Do not sleep on your
stomach, and if you sleep on your side, keep your neck
and jaw aligned.
Do not open wide. Until the pain
has been reduced, avoid activities that involve opening
the jaw wide—yawing, yelling, prolonged dental
Use medications. Use
anti-inflammatory and pain reducing medications like
Aleve (Syntex Laboratories), ibuprofen, Tylenol (McNeil
Laboratories), aspirin (without caffeine) and Percogesic
(Procter & Gamble) to reduce joint and muscle pain.
Avoid medications with caffeine, such as Anacin
(Whitehall), Excedrin (Bristol-Myers Squibb Company) or
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