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TMJ:  How to Reduce the Pain

Quite a few people come to their dental appointments at one time or another complaining of pain in their jaw joint, technically called the TMJ or TemporoMandibular Joint.  Here are a few tips that might help reduce the pain:

  1. Apply moist heat for 20 minutes, two to four times daily. Microwave a wet towel for about 1 minute or until the towel is very warm.  You can also use ice wrapped in a washcloth for 10 minutes two to four times daily.  Heat or ice can reduce the pain.
  2. Eat a softer diet. Avoid hard or chewy foods. Do not chew gum!
  3. Chew your food on both sides at the same time to reduce strain on one side.
  4. Tongue up and teeth apart – Place the tongue lightly on the top of your mouth behind your upper front teeth. This relaxes the jaw muscles.
  5. Avoid caffeine. Caffeine can make your muscles tighter.
  6. Avoid oral habits that put strain on the jaw muscles and joints.  This would include teeth clenching or grinding, teeth touching or resting together, biting cheeks or other habits.
  7. Avoid resting your jaw on your hand.
  8. Avoid activities that involve wide opening of the jaw like yawning.
  9. Avoid stomach sleeping.
  10. Use anti-inflammatory and pain reducing medications like Ibuprofen, Tylenol and aspirin.

Hopefully these tips can help with your jaw pain and over time it will go away for you.  Please feel free to discuss this with any one of us if you have any questions.

– from Susan B. (Dental Hygienist)

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