What is TMJ?
TMJ, known in the medical community as "temporomandibular joint dysfunction," is a serious condition that can cause serious pain when moving the jaw, as well as significantly restrict jaw mobility. Here at Gage Dental Care, one of our specialties is TMJ treatment in Los Angeles (as well as TMJ in Bell), so we understand just how much this condition that affects more than three million Americans can impact your life, so we compiled a list of ten tips to help those suffering from TMJ to enhance their quality of life. While you may need to seek out professional TMJ treatment in Los Angeles to be able to cope with the condition, here are ten tips you can start trying immediately before stopping at the dentist.
- Maintain a diet of soft foods - One of the biggest triggers of TMJ is needing to chew hard foods. It's no secret to TMJ sufferers that more jaw movement equates to more pain. If you're trying to keep the inflammation down, it makes sense to try to eat softer foods more often than not to spare yourself unnecessary pain.
- Over the counter pain meds - Even though they're not indicated for severe pain, some patients find that analgesics, or pain medicines, that can be bought at grocery stores may help with TMJ. These include NSAIDS, such as ibuprofen (Motrin) and non-NSAIDS, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol).
- Sleep on your side - Sleeping on your side may help alleviate TMJ symptoms. Of course, you should always make sure your neck and head are balanced in such a way to avoid pain in your jaw area.
- Learn more about TMJ - You probably heard this one all throughout school, but knowledge truly is power. If you're reading this article, you're probably already searching for things like "What is TMJ?" Keep researching and taking notes on the condition. The more you understand the underlying causes and triggers, the better you'll be able to manage the illness.
- Exercise your jaws! - Even though it may be painful at first, jaw exercises are a key component to coping with TMJ. Specialists at Gage Dental Care can incorporate specific jaw exercises into your TMJ treatment in Los Angeles or TMJ treatment in Bell. These vary by person depending on the severity of the condition and what has worked and not worked in the past. They are very individualized and require care to ensure the exercises are done in a way to avoid exacerbating symptoms.
- Yawning - This may sound counterintuitive, but yawning is a safe and basic form of jaw exercise that can help TMJ.
- Ice - Just like with any other injury or inflammation, ice can reduce inflammation and therefore help reduce pain without taking any pills.
- Moist Heat - Heat is a vastly underused anti-inflammatory. This is a good therapy to alternate with ice.
- Pick a knowledgeable dentist - Whether you are just looking for more information on "What is TMJ?" or TMJ treatment in Los Angeles or TMJ treatment in Bell, you need to have a dentist who has the facts straight, like the specialists at Gage Dental Care!
- Relaxation Techniques - Behind all pain is a psychological component. Anxiety can worsen perception of pain, which is why learning various relaxation techniques can help. A variety of sources online as well as Gage Dental Care, TMJ dentist in Bell, CA., can assist you with these.