Your jaw is more important than you might think. You use it every day for speaking, chewing, swallowing and yawning. So what happens if there’s a problem with the muscles, ligaments, joints or bones in your jaw? It could result in a painful problem known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIH) estimates that more than 10 million Americans may be affected by TMJ disorders. That’s about one in every 33 people, meaning Indiana could potentially have an estimated 200,000-plus residents with TMJ issues (based on the state’s population of 6.7 million in 2020).
If you live in Carmel, IN, or the surrounding areas and this sounds like you, read on to discover common types of TMJ problems and how to prevent them.
Common Types of TMJ Issues
One of the problems usually associated with TMJ disorders is pain in your jaw, face, neck or shoulders. This can be temporary or last for many years, but often comes with other problematic side effects. There are also other types of TMJ problems, such as:
- Difficulty chewing due to misaligned upper and lower teeth
- An inability to open the mouth wide.
- Dizziness, headaches, ringing in the ears
- Tiredness/swelling on one ore more sides of the face.
- Clicking or popping sounds when opening or closing the mouth.
Fortunately, there are several ways to both treat and prevent TMJ disorders in Carmel, Indiana.
Preventing TMJ Problems
It’s important to get a diagnosis from Dr. Smith at Really Smile Dental or another professional TMJ dentist to see if you have a disorder, but there are still steps you can take to prevent or address it. The American Dental Association (ADA) is a great resource for this, as they suggest the following:
- Eat softer foods
- Use a night guard or bite plate to decrease clenching or grinding of teeth
- Focus on exercises that strengthen your jaw muscles
- Avoid chewing gum and biting your nails
- Use heat packs to combat pain
- Practice relaxation techniques to control jaw tension
If you’d like to know more about TMJ problems and how you can prevent them, schedule a consultation with Dr. Smith today!