One of the most important aspects of your oral health lies within your jaws. Within your jaw lies ball and socket joints known as your temporomandibular joints, also called TMJs. Your TMJs are complex mechanisms that feature joints, muscle tissues, ligaments, and bone all affecting how your jaw operates to ensure it can open and close as intended. Unfortunately, this means you can often suffer dental damage due to the variety of moving parts.
There are different things that can put you at risk for a TMJ disorder. If for any reason you are unconsciously grinding your teeth, you are suffering from what is known as bruxism. This additional stress and pressure on your teeth also translates to pressure on your jaw. Constant wear from bruxism will give rise to joint pain and a potential TMJ disorder. Furthermore, if you routinely bite your nails or chew on tough and chewy foods, you can be placing additional wear on your TMJ muscles. Other common causes of TMJ disorders include teeth or jaws that are out of alignment, dislocations, and arthritis.
Jaw exercises can be used to help strengthen your jaw and your muscles. Generally, if you’re feeling any kind of jaw pain, you will want to avoid tough and chewy foods and instead, stick to softer foods. Stress and TMJ disorders are often linked, so talk to your dentist about stress -reduction techniques. If you have pain, use heat packs, and if inflammation is present, ice packs can be beneficial. Your dentist will have other treatment suggestions for addressing the problem.
Lowery Smiles wants to help treat your TMJ disorders. To schedule an appointment at our office in Cary, North Carolina, please call us at 919-371-2515. Dr. Siti Lowery and our team look forward to seeing you smile!