TMJ Relief may be Closer than You Think
- Posted on: May 15 2018
TMJ disorder is finally a topic of discussion in dental offices around the world. Historically, the understanding of this common jaw dysfunction has been pretty low. As scientists gained a better sense of the complete anatomy of the jaw, face, and head, dentists gained greater ability to help patients suffering from seemingly unexplainable symptoms.
One of the interesting pieces of information that has come from studies on TMJ disorder is that symptoms may stem from a habit of grinding and clenching the jaw. This is referred to as bruxism and describes an unconscious act that typically happens when a person sleeps. Studies indicate that bruxism occurs in about 15 percent of children and about 10% of adults. This is essential knowledge because it alerts us to the problem before the problem. By addressing bruxism, we may be able to prevent long-term damage to teeth and jaw structure.
Honing in on The Source of Pain
Bruxism is a stress-related habit. Recognizing this, it is possible to implement practices that may minimize the body’s tendency to “work out” stress during sleep. Strategies to try include:
- Exercise every day. It isn’t necessary to grind it out at night when your body grinds it out at the gym, or on the mat, or on the pavement. It doesn’t matter what form of exercise you engage in; our body will appreciate the release of energy and surge of feel-good hormones that comes from physical movement.
- Find ways to relax. Exercise can be relaxing because it supports the release of physical energy. A hobby, on the other hand, minimizes psychological stress. Some people color, some play cards or garden. Relaxation techniques may also provide valuable stress relief.
- Use essential oils. Recently, the therapeutic value of essential oils has come into the spotlight. Many high-quality oils, such as lavender and vetiver, have been shown to reduce stress significantly. Citrus oils like bergamot and wild orange are also useful for uplifting your mood. In some cases, essential oil can be directly applied to the cheek area to release muscle tension.
- Eat that banana. Bananas provide the magnesium that the body needs to release physical and emotional stress. Don’t like this sweet fruit? That’s ok, a magnesium supplement (spray form is the best) can support physiological needs that promote better sleep and reduced stress.
Bruxism is a concerning problem that may be addressed in the dental office. To see how we can help you minimize symptoms of TMJ disorder by treating bruxism, call our Boca Raton office at 561-368-2928.
Posted in: Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ/TMD)