Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD)
To prevent temporomandibular disorders (TMDs), try to reduce muscle tension in your jaw. You can reduce muscle tension in these ways:
- Relax. If you have a lot of stress and anxiety in your life, try relaxation techniques. See the topic Reference Stress Management.
- Learn to recognize when you are clenching your teeth. Practice keeping your teeth apart, bringing them together only when swallowing or eating. When driving, avoid clenching the wheel with both hands, because often your teeth will be clenched also.
- Do not overuse and stress your jaw muscles. Avoid constantly chewing gum, biting your nails, resting your chin on your hand, or cradling the telephone receiver between your shoulder and jaw.
- Change your diet. Eat softer foods, and use both sides of your mouth to chew your food. Avoid hard or chewy foods, such as popcorn, apples, carrots, taffy, hard breads, and bagels.
- Maintain good posture. Poor posture may disturb the natural alignment of your facial bones and muscles, causing pain.
In the past, various procedures such as dental restoration and orthodontic treatment were used to prevent joint sounds from developing into TMDs. Such measures are not only unneeded but also potentially damaging to a joint that may never become painful on its own.
See Reference Home Treatment for other ways to prevent or reduce muscle tension in your jaw.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference June 11, 2012|
|Medical Review:||Reference Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Reference Arden Christen, DDS, MSD, MA, FACD - Dentistry