10 Tips for Reducing the Symptoms of TMJ  

If temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ) is recognized early on, individuals can find relief with some at-home remedies.

1. Start Eating a Soft Diet

Implement a soft food diet and stick with it for about a week. Foods included in this diet are soups, scrambled eggs, applesauce, mashed potatoes, well-cooked vegetables, pancakes, breads, yogurt, cottage cheese, and pasta, etc.

2. Cut Food into Small Pieces

By cutting soft food into small pieces, you can eliminate the need to open your mouth wide. In addition, smaller pieces of food are easier to chew.

3. Avoid Certain Types of Foods

Avoiding certain kinds of foods can help alleviate the symptoms of TMJ.

Foods to avoid include:

  • Sticky and chewy foods — these foods include taffy, caramel and gum, etc.
  • Difficult to eat — any foods that require you to open your mouth really wide (e.g., apples, pears, etc.).
  • Tough cuts of meat — meats to avoid include skirt steak and round steak. Jerky should also be avoided.
  • Crunchy foods — these foods include potato chips, popcorn, cold cereals, raw vegetables, hard candy and nuts, etc.

4. Moist Heat

Consider using moist heat to alleviate your symptoms. Apply the warm, not hot, moist compress to your jaw. Leave this in position for approximately 20 minutes. Be sure to place a cloth in between your skin and the compress. If the compress feels too warm, remove it, wait for it to cool, and then reapply. Heat increases blood flow to the area, reduces stiffness and helps the muscles relax.

You can purchase heat packs at your local pharmacy or online.

5. Ice Packs

Use a cold compress for about 20 minutes. Place a dry washcloth in between your skin and the compress. The ice helps decrease inflammation, which reduces pain.

Ice packs made with gel can be purchased at your local pharmacy or online.

6. Wear a Night Guard

Purchase a nightguard to wear while you sleep. A night guard can keep you from grinding and clenching your teeth as you sleep.

7. Open Your Mouth Slowly

Slowly opening your mouth while brushing and flossing can keep you from aggravating your jaw and increasing TMJ symptoms.

8. Use Medications Like NSAIDs to Reduce Swelling

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are designed to reduce inflammation which decreases pain.

9. Consider Trying Natural Supplements

You should talk to your physician before starting any new supplements.

That said, here are some natural supplements that can be helpful for individuals with TMJ:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids and Turmeric — these reduce pain by decreasing inflammation.
  • Magnesium — decreases pain by relaxing the muscles.

10. Exercise Your Jaw

Exercises can reduce jaw pain by stretching and strengthening the jaw muscles. Jaw exercises are designed to stretch, relax, strengthen and increase jaw mobility.

The three types of exercises you can use:

  • Stretching exercises.
  • Relaxation exercises.
  • Strengthening exercises.

Keep in mind that if an exercise causes additional pain you need to remove it from your regimen.

If you are experiencing jaw pain or have a dental issue that needs to be addressed, contact Dr. Michael J. Tupta at (304) 744-4150 or click here to schedule an appointment today. Dr. Tupta’s dental office is located at 1701 Oakhurst Drive in Charleston, West Virginia.

3 Signs You May Have a TMJ Disorder

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the primary connective point between your jaw and your skull. This complex joint bears the responsibility of allowing the jaw to open and close so you can chew, bite, speak, and open and close your mouth. TMJ disorders involve problems with this important joint, and many of these issues do go undiagnosed because people do not realize they have a correctable problem. Take a look at some of the most common signs of a TMJ disorder.

You hear popping and cracking when you open and close your mouth.

Do you hear your jaws pop every time you chew your food? Have you ever had painful pops when you open your mouth really wide or yawn? Do you hear crackling when you speak? All of these could potentially be related to a TMJ disorder. Excess air gets into the joint if there are small pockets inside, and this excess air can cause the popping and crackling sounds you are hearing.

You frequently feel tension or pain in your jaws.

Tension and pain in the jaws are some of the most common symptoms of a TMJ disorder, but this tension or pain constantly gets blamed on other issues. The sensations actually come from overworked nerves and muscles surrounding the joint; they work harder to compensate for the undue stress on the joint. Over time, these sensations can actually grow worse, so early diagnosis is key.

You have an issue with grinding your teeth.

People who have a tendency to grind their teeth can be more prone to also having a TMJ disorder. The grinding, whether you are doing it when you are stressed or when you are simply asleep, puts a lot of strain on the muscles that surround the TMJ and the joint itself. If you have already been diagnosed with bruxism (teeth grinding, clenching, or gnashing), it is important that you talk to the dentist about any symptoms of TMJ as well.

Reach Out to the Office of Dr. Michael J. Tupta for Advice

A dentist can help properly diagnose a TMJ disorder and make recommendations about treatment so you can get some much-needed relief from the symptoms. Reach out to us at the office of Dr. Michael J. Tupta in Charleston, WV for an appointment.