The Top Triggers for TMJ Orofacial Pain and How to Avoid Them

The Top Triggers for TMJ Orofacial Pain and How to Avoid Them

May 1, 2023

What is TMJ?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects the jawbone to the skull. It is a complex joint that allows for varying movements, such as chewing, speaking, and yawning. The joint is surrounded by muscles, ligaments, and a disc that cushions between the jawbone and the skull.

TMJ disorders (TMD) refer to conditions affecting the TMJ and the muscles and tissues surrounding it. It occurs when this joint becomes injured or inflamed, leading to symptoms that can affect the jaw, face, and neck.

Common Symptoms of TMJ Include:

Technically, you will always need a TMJ specialist near you to diagnose your symptoms before you can determine they are because of TMJ disorder. However, you can also consider the following symptoms as indicators that you need to visit a dentist near you for diagnosis and treatment:

  1. Jaw pain – is the most common symptom of TMJ. The pain may be dull or sharp and may be felt in the jaw joint or surrounding muscles.
  2. Clicking or popping of the jaw – usually when you open or close your mouth.
  3. Limited jaw movement – TMJ can make it difficult to open your mouth wide or move your jaw in certain directions.
  4. Facial pain – in the cheeks, temples, and around the ears
  5. Headaches – especially in the temples or behind the eyes, are a common symptom of TMJ.
  6. Ear pain or ringing in the ears – the pain can feel like a feeling of fullness or ringing in the ears (tinnitus).
  7. Neck and shoulder pain and stiffness

What Triggers TMJ Orofacial Pain?

TMJ Orofacial pain in Boca Raton, FL, can have a variety of triggers. Some common triggers include:

  1. Teeth grinding or clenching (bruxism): It causes excessive pressure on the jawbone, connective tissues, and surrounding muscles, leading to pain.
  2. Trauma to the jaw or face: An injury or impact to the jaw or face can result in TMJ pain, alongside other complications s like fractures, dislocations, and open wounds.
  3. Arthritis: Did you know that some types of arthritis can cause inflammation and pain in your jawbone and surrounding facial features?
  4. Poor posture: Your posture when sleeping can put extra pressure on the jaw and lead to pain.
  5. Stress: Emotional stress, anxiety, and depression often cause you to clench your teeth and can lead to increased muscle tension in the jaw and facial muscles.
  6. Chewing gum or eating hard or chewy foods: Such foods only put unnecessary strain on the jaw muscles and lead to pain.
  7. Misaligned teeth or bite: There is a reason your dentist in Boca Raton, FL, emphasizes you begin orthodontic treatment. A misaligned smile or an improper bite will cause extra strain on the TMJ when you chew or speak, leading to pain.
  8. Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue syndrome, have been known to cause or worsen TMJ pain.

How to Avoid TMJ Orofacial Pain Triggers

Some tips to help you avoid triggers that can exacerbate or cause TMJ Pain are:

  1. Avoid excessive gum chewing. Limit the amount of time you chew gum or avoid it altogether.
  2. Avoid hard and crunchy foods like nuts, chips, and popcorn. Instead, lean more toward soft foods, such as cooked vegetables, eggs, and fish.
  3. Maintain good posture by keeping your head and neck in a neutral position to avoid hunching your shoulders.
  4. Reduce stress and overcome anxiety. Practice stress-reducing activities such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.
  5. Avoid clenching and grinding teeth. Try to be aware of when you clench or grind your teeth and make an effort to stop. Further, seek dental TMJ and sleep apnea treatment that may involve wearing a mouthguard and night oral appliance at night to protect your teeth.
  6. Use heat or cold therapy on the affected area to relieve TMJ pain. Use a warm compress or take a warm shower to help relax the muscles, or apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel to help reduce inflammation, which is among the best measures for treating TMJ orofacial pain near you.
  7. Get enough sleep. Did you know that lack of sleep can contribute to TMJ Pain? It is the reason dentists recommend sleeping each night for consistent hours to create a relaxing bedtime routine.