If you already have TMJ disorder or are even dealing with TMJ symptoms, you want to do everything in your power to prevent the severity of the disorder from increasing. Some causes of TMJ disorder can be resolved on your own without extensive medical treatment. However, other cases may require outside assistance to relieve the stress on your jaw or face.
Relax Your Face
Remember the rule: “Lips together, teeth apart.” Clenching and tense jaw posture are two of the most common causes of TMJ disorder. The strain put on your jaw muscles and the joints in the area cause severe and prolonged pain and severely heightens the risk of developing TMJ disorder.
To prevent clenching or tension in your face, remember to relax it while keeping your lips together and teeth apart! You can do this by breathing deeply and practicing mindfulness.
2. Avoid Grinding Your Teeth
Grinding your teeth at night is another common cause of TMJ disorder. Prevent this by wearing a nightguard while sleeping or by using relaxation techniques to prevent nighttime clenching and grinding.
3. Avoid Constant Gum Chewing
Gum chewing can also lead to TMJ-related symptoms if done too often — don’t do it! If you constantly chew gum, try substituting other activities, such as snapping your fingers or playing with a rubber band. Some of these habits can be especially hard to break, so be patient with yourself and be proactive about making the change.
4. Chew Food Evenly on Both Sides of Your Mouth
Most people chew on one side of their mouth more often. This puts strain on the jaw and can lead to TMJ disorder. Prevent this by chewing food evenly on both sides and alternating which side you start with from meal to meal.
Preventing TMJ Disorder From Getting Worse
TMJ disorder can evolve quickly if left undiagnosed or untreated. If and when it inevitably does become more severe, TMJ disorder can hold serious consequences for sufferers. Some of these side effects include chronic pain, sleep apnea, and difficulty swallowing or breathing. Preventing TMJ from becoming more severe through changes in habits can be a powerful treatment option over a long period of time. Dr. Firouzi at the Center for Exceptional Dentistry specializes in TMJ treatment. Visit our contact page here or call (412) 274-1126 for more information.