How TMJ Is Treated - Five Tips to Help You
In some of our past ClearClub blog articles, we've discussed ways to mitigate stress that can aggravate the symptoms of TMJ. But there are many simple, everyday changes you can make that will also help...
Getting a proper diagnosis from your dentist is always the first step in treating TMJ, and consistent use of your nightguard is the foremost element, but you can make a few adjustments to your daily habits that will supplement your efforts and put you in the best position for long-term relief. Here are five to start with!
1. Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake: We're definitely not going to tell you to stop enjoying your favorite coffee blend or chocolate treat, but be conscious of what you consume and when. Caffeine is present in some degree in coffee, black and green teas, and chocolate, so it's best to avoid eating or drinking too much of any of these in the evenings. Also, alcohol – while it may seem to relax you – is another substance that dental studies have shown may actually contribute to grinding your teeth while you sleep.
2. Don't chew if it isn't food: It makes sense that the more of a workout you give your teeth and jaw when you're awake, the more you might feel the unpleasant effects of TMJ on top of grinding and clenching. Try to avoid chewing on pencils or pens, or chewing gum for extended periods of time in order to reduce the extra stress. If you are experiencing periodic or consistent aches associated with grinding, it is also a good idea to avoid extremely crunchy foods for a period of time until you can treat it.
3. Use your muscles in tandem: As we've noted, there are great arguments to be made for having multiple dental nightguards so that you can practice wearing one during the day in situations that might unconsciously encourage grinding. Inevitably, though, odds are you're going to be in a situation where you don't have your nightguard in and you catch yourself doing it – to which we say, use one muscle to save others! Try placing the tip of your tongue between your teeth to relax your jaw muscles and give them a little space; it's a simple trick that can really help.
4. Try some herbal supplements and treatments: We know, sometimes it can be a little overwhelming to navigate the world of dietary supplements. There are so many home remedies for virtually every condition, and at the end of the day none of them should be viewed as a sole form of treatment in lieu of a care plan from your dentist or health care provider. That said, studies have shown that a number of herbal supplements may help; try herbal teas that contain turmeric, a known anti-inflammatory for jaw pain relief. (Or add turmeric to your favorite recipes!) Likewise, lavender oil – particularly when used in aromatherapy – helps to calm your nerves and encourage better sleep.
5. Heat and massage therapy can be a huge relief: When it comes to myriad types of aches and pains, applying controlled temperature changes such as heat or ice is a time-tested solution, and easing the pain of extended grinding and clenching is no different. If jaw pain is making it harder for you to sleep soundly, try applying moist heat to your joints just before bed; microwave a damp washcloth for about 1 minute, then wrap that around a gel pack or water bottle and apply to the affected area for about 15 minutes. If you are able to try a facial massage, this could also be tremendously relaxing and helpful for worn-out muscles in the face.
These are a few easy supplemental directives, but be sure to stay on top of your dental health. There are a variety of treatments for TMJ, however ClearClub's night guards for teeth grinding are by far the no.1 treatment option for TMJ.
ClearClub's custom-fit, low-cost night guards will help protect your teeth from grinding and clenching, and start as low as $95 for your first custom night guard. Plus, they are shipped directly to your door! Your teeth will thank you.
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