If you’ve been diagnosed with temporomandibular disorder (TMD), you may be able to manage your pain and symptoms at home. These symptoms may improve over the span of few weeks or months simply by changing parts of your daily routine.
Therapy for TMD is designed to help the muscles, nerves, and joints of the temporomandibular joints (TMJs). You can use the following tips for managing TMD at home as part of a conservative yet effective method of managing your symptoms.
1 . Adjust your diet
Managing TMD at home begins with your diets. Eat soft foods as often as you can, and avoid eating chewy, hard, or crunchy foods. Taking small bites can help avoid the risk of your jaw locking.
Avoid biting into hard food with your front teeth. Foods like apples, carrots, or corn on the cob can overwork your TMJs and jar them, possible worsening your symptoms or locking the joints.
If you experience pain on only one side of your jaw, try to chew on that side. This will benefit your jaw muscle poitioning.
2. Kick caffeine and sugar
Caffeine and sugar can overstimulate your nervous system, increase muscle tension, and encourage you to accidentally overwork your TMJs. Limiting these stimulants can help manage your symptoms.
Caffeine and sugar can also stay in your system while you sleep. which can contribute to teeth grinding (bruxism) or jaw clenching. TO help your nervous system stay relaxed, switch to decaffeinated drinks and avoid drinks and foods with added sugar.
3. Avoid clenching
It is important to avoid clenching your teeth as much as you can. One way to do this is by making an effort to pay attention to your mouth position throughout the day. You should keep your lips relaxed, your teeth apart, and allow your tongue to gently touch the roof of your mouth.
Your teeth should only come together with force when you are eating meals.
4. Apply moist heat
Applying heat in the form of moist, hot towel or dishcloth will bring blood flow to the side of the painful jaw joint and improve jaw function. You can also try placing a hot water bottle wrapped in a moist towel on the joint.
It is preferable to use moist heat for 20 minutes at least twice per day Exercise caution when using moist heat, and take care not to burn yourself.
5. Perfect your sleeping posture
It’s very important to avoid sleeping on your stomach if you have TMD. This can put pressure on your jaw and worsen your symptoms. To train yourself out of sleeping on your stomach, sew a tennis ball into a shirt with a front pocket. This will make you aware of when you roll onto your stomach in your sleep.
Sleeping on your back is the most ideal position for your jaw joints because you are not placing your pillow directly under your jaw.
If your dentist suspects your TMD to be stress-related, it’s important to minimize the points of stress in your life as much as possible. You may also benefit from using methods of relaxation, like deep breathing, yoga, massage therapy, meditation, and even hypnosis.
7. Use conservative jaw movements
Avoid extreme movements, including chewing gum, wide yawning, opening wide to eat, and loud singing. When yawning , you may find it helpful to support your chin with your fist so that your jaw cannot open beyond a certain point and cause discomfort or joint locking.
Inform your dentist of your jaw pain condition, and ask to have your appointments limited to 30 minutes.
Even if you have a severe form of TMD, managing your symptoms at home can still aid in your recovery. The amount of improvement in your symptoms will be largely dependent upon your daily care routine. Your dentist may recommend an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen, or they may give you a prescription medication to incorporate into your customized treatment plan.
Whether you have a mild or severe form of TMD, it is best to go to a trusted dental clinic like the Advanced Dental Implant and TMJ Center . You can ask questions or schedule an appointment on their website