Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) FAQ
San Francisco TMJ Specialist
More than 75 million people in the United States report suffering from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder symptoms. 28% of adults suffer from TMJ. San Francisco TMJ Specialist Dr. Larson has a few tips to give his patients at the first sign of TMJ symptoms.
Ditch the Gum Chewing Habit
If you really must chew gum, opt for the three-minute rule – chew for three minutes and then get rid of your gum. Also, avoiding excessive snacking on foods that require a lot of chewing action, like licorice, toffee, and hard candy.
Treat Yourself to Mini-Massages
The masseter is a powerful and prominent muscle in your jaw that plays a big role in allowing your mouth to open and close. It can become tense because of stress and tension that everyone deals with day to day. If this muscle becomes tense enough, you may find yourself dealing with TMJD. A gentle massage will help keep the masseter flexible. Having trouble finding the muscle? Place your fingers on the back part of your cheek, then bite down. Your masseter muscle will flex outward.
Make an Effort to Relax Your Jaw
If you find yourself constantly clenching your jaw, odds are you will end up having TMJ issues. Relax your jaw by slightly lowering your jaw so your teeth are not touching. You can do this without opening your mouth. Also, the position of your tongue in your mouth can help you to relax. If it is always pressed up against the roof of your mouth, let it drop to a natural position. Then nasally breathe…silently and slowly. You will be rewarded with less jaw pain.
Watch Your Head Posture
Excessive forward leaning can actually contribute to TMJD. You will have posture problems if your ears are not lined up to your shoulders. Sitting at a computer can exacerbate this issue.
Temporary solutions can give your jaw joints time to heal. An effective remedy is to switch to soft foods until your discomfort goes away. If you have persistent TMJ pain, San Francisco TMJ Specialist Dr. Larson can help you find a proper diagnosis.