The temporomandibular joint connects the jawbone and skull. Because this joint is so important, TMJ disorders can cause serious disruptions to everyday tasks, including making it difficult to chew your food. It can also cause pain in your face and temporomandibular joints. Some people are predisposed to TMJ disorders due to arthritis, but others can develop it after a jaw injury. While TMJ disorders are not always preventable, here are a few things you can do to minimize the risk of developing one.
Stop Chewing Gum
Millions of people chew gum each day without any thought of what it might do to their jaw or teeth. They want that minty fresh breath after a meal and gum seems like the perfect option. With so many different flavors available, it can also be used to satisfy different cravings. While many people find that it has quite a few benefits, it could increase the likelihood of developing a TMJ disorder. Your joints are having to constantly work as you chew, so you are giving them even more work to do. If you are at a higher probability of getting a TMJ disorder, it is probably a good idea to stop having gum. To get more information on whether you are a high-risk case, see a professional, such as Dr George Hatzigiannis.
Relax Your Face
Often times, people hold tension in different areas of their body without even realizing it. The face is a common place for people to tighten up, and high-stress situations can cause the tightness to become even worse. This may lead to problems down the road as it often leads to clenching the jaw and grinding the teeth. Try to check yourself each hour to make sure you are relaxing your face and jaw. Leave a little space between your top and bottom teeth to give your jaw a break.
Get Your Teeth Checked
Getting your teeth checked regularly by a professional is one of the best ways to avoid developing a disorder. Preventative care can go a long way. For instance, you may be grinding your teeth together at night. If you sleep alone, you probably don’t even realize you are doing it. This is something a dentist should be able to see at your appointment. They can help you find the right equipment to protect your jaw and teeth at night. This will not only help you lower your risk of developing a TMJ disorder, but you’ll probably notice that you wake up with a lot less pain in the mornings.
If you are at a high risk of developing a TMJ disorder or already have one, it is important to know what your options are. Your doctor will be able to come up with a treatment plan that is right for you. In some instances, this may mean surgery, but it really is a case by case basis. It will really depend on the severity of your situation. Always be sure to seek medical attention if you notice consistent pain in your jaw or face.