Many of us might clench our teeth without realizing, especially during times of stress and anxiety. When you bite down and grind your teeth, you stimulate your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Too much stress (and clenching) can result in an overstimulated jaw joint and symptoms of temporomandibular disorder (TMD). Here are some fundamentals on TMD and how you can treat your jaw through basic exercises to keep it happy and pain-free.
At Gentry Dental, we are here to provide exceptional patient service and dental care—which includes pain relief and management.
Symptoms and Causes of TMD
Jaw joint pain can be a severe issue that affects your quality of life. TMD is caused when your TMJ is overstimulated, most likely through grinding or clenching your teeth, a misaligned bite, joint disorders, or arthritis.
Patients with TMD often notice clicking or popping in their jaw joints, difficulty closing or opening their mouths, jaw pain, ear pain, headaches, and chewing pain. These can be extremely detrimental, as most of those actions occur multiple times every day. The good news is that you actively evade TMD and managing your pain.
How to Massage for TMD
A simple and easy exercise for TMD starts with opening your mouth, closing it halfway, then moving your jaw gently in a circle. Don't rush or force anything; movements should be slow and gentle.
Another recommended massage involves extending your mandible in every direction while pressing your finger right below your ear, right where your joint hinges with your skull. Softly massage any pain out until you feel some pain relief.
Ice packs wrapped in towels can reduce your inflammation.
Are You Suffering From TMD?
If you are clenching or grinding your teeth and want to walk away from TMD, let Dr. Heather Gentry know during your next dental check-up. We can offer assistance and help treat TMD, which is vital as it only gets worse as time passes. Some treatments simply use nightguards while you sleep; other patients may need a surgical approach.
Give your Charlotte dental office a call today so we can help relieve your jaw joint pain.