Millions of people suffer from TMJ Disorder. This can be very painful and frustrating, as many are not even aware that they have it. One of the reasons why it is so debilitating is that it affects your jaw joints, and many of our daily actions require their use: eating, speaking, biting, etc. When TMJ persists it can lead to other issues such as persistent teeth grinding and even pain elsewhere in the body. Because of this, it is important to treat the disorder as quickly as possible. While the best course of action is working with your dentist, there are also numerous exercises you can do at home to help alleviate pain. In today’s blog, your Kansas City, MO, dentist talks about TMJ Disorder and exercises you can do for pain relief.
What Is TMJ Disorder?
As a refresher, TMJ Disorder (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder) occurs when the joints that connect your jaw to your skull become misaligned. Because these joints are almost always in motion, they rarely have time to heal on their own, causing you pain. It typically occurs due to clenching your jaw from stress or can be caused by teeth-grinding (also known as bruxism). The most prevalent symptoms of TMJ include jaw popping, headaches, migraine, earaches, and general facial soreness. In more severe cases, you can even feel pain in your shoulders and lower back.
One of the most common ways to treat this disorder is for your dentist to craft you a custom night-guard to where while you sleep. It is designed to meet the precise specifications of your mouth, so it fits very comfortably. When you wear it, it gently puts your jaw into its proper position providing you relief while also realigning it.
What You Can Do At Home
In addition to wearing a nightguard while you sleep, there are also numerous exercises you can do at home to help alleviate pain and strengthen your jaw joints. You can rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth and let your teeth gently come apart and relax your jaw. It will naturally pull downward. Additionally, you can tuck your chin. Stand with your shoulders back and your chest up. Next, pull your chin straight back, approximating a double chin. Hold that for a few seconds and repeat it about three times. What’s more, you can put a pen between your front and bottom teeth and roll it from your teeth from side to side. Finally, you can squeeze your chin with your index finger; close your mouth while applying pressure downward on your chin. Try to resist the upward closing of your mouth. In conjunction with your nightguard, these exercises should help lessen your TMJ discomfort.
Contact Us To Learn More About TMJ Disorder
Do not prolong your jaw discomfort. We are here to help. To schedule an appointment, contact your Kansas City, MO, dentist, Dr. Murphy, by calling (816) 531-8000.