1612 Pennsylvania Avenue
Fort Worth TX 76104
Is Your Mouth Stressed Out?
Daily stressors can manifest themselves in many ways … is your mouth stressed out? If so, what can be done to resolve problems like TMJ disorders?
TMJ is the common abbreviation for temporomandibular joint. TMJ refers to a condition affecting the joints just above the jaw in front of the ears often resulting in discomfort to the jaw joint and the muscles that contribute to jaw movement.
Why is stress considered a contributor to TMJ disorders? Many patients that experience ongoing daily stress may begin to grind their teeth or clench the jaw, usually something that begins subconsciously during period of sleep. While teeth grinding does not mean you have TMJ, it can be a contributor.
Other possible causes for TMJ include genetics, arthritis, or some type of injury. Symptoms that afflict those suffering with TMJ might be pain in the face, neck, jaw, or ears; painful joint locking and chewing difficulties.
Your dentist might begin treatment by fabricating a custom fitted mouthguard for you to wear at night to prevent teeth grinding. Or if a malocclusion is a possible contributor, something as simple as a bite adjustment might help. Your dentist will test your bite, and make needed adjustments by evening out your bite. This may be a simple measure to provide a little relief, but more extensive treatment may be required.
Other offered solutions are fairly general in nature … the obvious would be to eliminate whatever is stressing you out. Since daily stressors often involve work, school, or family, problems like this may not be easily resolved.
But exercise, yoga, or meditation are often great stress busters. There are medications available that may help relieve stress or anxiety. The diet should be investigated for things that can contribute to stress … too much caffeine or junky snacks should be eliminated. Experiment eating with soft foods to help ease jaw discomfort. Ice packs applied to the jaw area may help bring relief as well.
Depending on the reason for your TMJ symptoms, the prescription for treatment can differ widely. Your dentist may recommend giving your condition some time to resolve on its own or offer some suggestions previously mentioned here especially if the basis for your jaw pain is attributed to stress.
For additional tips or to schedule a visit, contact our team at the office of Dr. Randy Parham today.
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