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Jaw pain can be uncomfortable and hard to cope with. It can decrease your quality of life and make simple tasks like chewing food painful and hard to do. Temporomandibular joints disorder (TMD) has several symptoms that you may be unaware of such as headaches, neck pain and problems with chewing and swallowing. There is often swelling in the face and joint area. When dealing with this problem, many people make mistakes that increase the symptoms instead of decreasing them. If you are dealing with TMJ and related TMJ disorders (TMD) in McLean, be sure to see a medical professional and avoid making common mistakes.

What is TMJ? What is TMD?

Temporomandibular joints (TMJ) are the joints that connect your jawbone to your skull. They are essential for daily activities such as eating, talking and yawning. When they become loose, irritated or inflamed, this is known as temporomandibular joints disorder (TMD). Many people don’t realize they have it and continue to do activities that make it worse. There are treatments available, but the patient has to be willing to avoid certain habits that make it worse.

Four Mistakes to Avoid

There are a lot of things that will make your symptoms worse if you continue to do them.

  • Clenching Jaw or Grinding Teeth. Clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth can not only worsen the symptoms of TMD, they can cause other health problems such as headaches and neck pain. Some people do these things without realizing, especially when concentrating hard. Try to relax your jaw and face when focused.
  • Non-functional Jaw Activities. These are activities that don’t promote healthy habits and can irritate the joints. Chewing gum, biting nails, chewing a pen lid or on clothing are a few examples.
  • Resting Your Head on Your Chin. Resting your chin in your hand or on hard surfaces puts pressure on your jaw. This will irritate your joints and cause pain and other dental health problems.
  • Poor Posture. Teeth and neck pain can be caused from poor posture. Things like slouching, looking down at your phone or book can cause strain on your neck and jaw. Try to avoid bending your neck downward or slouching in your seat.

If you find yourself doing these things, it is likely your symptoms will get worse. Work on changing your habits and develop new self-care routines to decrease discomfort.

Treatment for TMJ Issues and TMD Pain in McLean

Self-care is important for your health and well-being. Practice self-care routines to decrease symptoms, like ice packs for swelling and proper chewing habits. Be sure to chew on both sides of your mouth so symptoms don’t worsen on one side. If you need stronger pain relief, over the counter and prescription drugs are available. However, sometimes it is necessary to seek the help of a medical professional. Doctor Vidya Colospate is an experienced dentist with many years of practice. She will treat TMJ and TMD issues in McLean and help you through examination and therapy.

At McLean healthy smiles Dr. Colospate does a thorough evaluation of your TMJ and the muscles associated with it, which helps her make the diagnosis and recommend treatment accordingly. Sometimes simple jaw exercises and warm/cold compressors are recommended by Dr. Colospate. However, she may recommend appliance therapy when needed for long-term benefits.

TMJ is a complex system that works with the masticatory muscles and as well as teeth. The occlusion/bite relationship of your upper teeth play a huge role and can contribute significantly to the health of the area. If teeth are out of place, it can adversely affect your TMJ.

If you find yourself a victim of bad habits, make a plan for change. Also make an appointment with a medical professional. Professional treatment for TMJ and TMD issues in McLean is available.

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