Do your hear a clicking sound every time you jaw pops?
Is it often accompanied by sensations of pain?
This might be happening if your jaw is overextending when you open your mouth for yawning or eating.
What You Need to Know if Your Jaw is Popping or Clicking?
July 30, 2019
Do your hear a clicking sound every time you jaw pops?
10 Routine Life Habits That Relieve TMJ Pain
May 17, 2019
TMD is a combination of pain, jaw joint problems, and muscle spasms that stem when the teeth, jaw joints, and chewing muscles are not in tune with each other. This discomfort and pain can pose long-term complications and affect your quality of life in the long run. Unlike teeth and gum treatment, the problems with the temporomandibular joint can often be treated with simple lifestyle changes that improve sleep, ease discomfort and eliminate speech problems.(more…)
TMJ and Vertigo: The Connection
November 12, 2018
Is your jaw tender and constantly making clicking or popping sounds when you chew? Unfortunately all the above are symptoms of TMJ.
But do you know that there are still some other unknown or unrecognizable symptoms caused by TMJ which are related to vertigo? TMJ is otherwise known as “the great imposter” as it can cause many other symptoms that are completely unrelated to your bite, such as vertigo.(more…)
How TMJ Disorders Can Expose Your Body to Other Chronic Diseases
October 22, 2018
TMJ or TMD is a sequence of pain, jaw joint problems and muscle spasms that arise when the teeth, chewing muscles, and jaw joints don’t work together harmoniously. TMD refers to the problems with the muscles and joints that join the mandible bone of the jaw to the temporal bone at the base of the skull. Some TMJ symptoms may include headaches, worn out teeth, sore muscles in the face, neck, and shoulder. There are also several chronic diseases that are associated with temporomandibular joint disorder.(more…)
Relief from TMJ Headache and Bruxism
October 11, 2018
TMJ is the most complex joint in the body with a rigid in point of closure. You can imagine the strain that we put on this joint as we breathe, talk, eat and swallow 2000 times per day. It is no wonder that a certain percentage of the population reports some level of disorder in the TMJ. Bruxing and clenching can lead to headaches, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and dental wear. TMJ can also trigger other chronic diseases.(more…)
TMJ Pain Relief with Simple Jaw Exercises
September 15, 2018
If you find yourself constantly clenching your jaw and teeth in anger or in stress, you’re suffering from bruxism. Bruxism is a condition that results from constantly grinding your teeth at night. A high number of bruxism patients clench their teeth during the day as well. Since it is an involuntary action, many patients find it difficult to stop. The stress of constantly clenching and grinding can damage your temporomandibular joints that lead to TMD. Bruxism and TMJ can be a little confusing to identify since they have similar signs and symptoms, so understanding the difference between the two is going to be important.
If you want to correct your jaw pain for a long haul, then you should do these exercises. These TMJ exercises will contract and strengthen your muscles, which will make the changes to put your joint in the right position.
Jaw Exercises for TMJ Pain Relief
- Strengthening ExercisesStrengthening exercises are best performed between TMJ flare-ups. During times of extreme pain, TMJ flare-ups can aggravate the pain.
Here are two strengthening exercises:
- Place your thumb under your chin, pushing your chin downward against it. Keep opening your mouth against a reasonable force from your thumb, and then hold it open for 5-10 seconds.
- Open your mouth wide open as comfortably as you can. Place your index finger between your chin and lower lip. Keep your mouth closed and push inward against the resistance.
- Stretching ExercisesStretching exercises can soothe TMJ pain during a flare-up. They minimize muscle and joint tension, providing long-term relief.
- Place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Open your mouth wide open as you comfortably can. Hold for 5-10 seconds.
- Place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth. Glide your lower jaw out as far as it can, then back in as far as it can. Hold for 10 seconds in each position.
- Gradually open your mouth as wide as you can, with your tongue in a neutral position. Hold for 10 seconds then close your mouth. Then, open your mouth slightly, gliding your lower jaw back and forth 5-10 times.
- Keep your mouth closed. Look straight ahead, glancing to the right with your eyes only. Move your lower jaw to the left and hold for 5-10 seconds. Repeat the same with your upper jaw.
- Keep a thin object, either a pencil or a paintbrush in between your front teeth. Glide your lower jaw forward, allowing the object to rest between your back and front teeth. Hold the position for 20 seconds.
- Relaxation Exercises
Stress often triggers TMJ pain, and these exercises can help you with relaxing.
- Gradually inhale, allowing your stomach to expand instead of your chest. Slowly exhale, while allowing your exhalation to last as long as your inhalation. Repeat the exercise 5-10 times.
- Sit or lie in a comfortable position with some support. Relax your muscles and banish tension from your muscles. Begin with your feet and work your way up to the head.
Other Ways for TMJ Pain Relief
- Apply an ice pack to the affected area for 20 minutes. Some may find alternating between heat and ice more effective.
- Use anti-inflammatory drugs to receive temporary relief.
- Massage your neck and head muscles to control tension emitting from the TMJ.
Make sure you are not pushing too hard since these are gentle stretches for the small joints in your jaw. If you are committed during your TMJ pain treatment, you will feel better with the ease of pain. However, make sure you speak with your dentist in Goodyear, AZ who can make recommendations specific to your case.
Why You Should Consider TMJ Treatment
August 30, 2018
The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. When this joint is damaged, it can result in a pain disorder called temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD).
TMD often results in severe discomfort and pain. It either is a temporary or a chronic pain that can affect either one or both sides of your face. The risk factors that contribute to TMJ disorder increase your chances of facial injuries, a misaligned bite, and bruxism amongst other risk factors. In some cases, you may stop experiencing the symptoms of TMD. However, if your symptoms persist, your doctor would recommend you various TMJ treatment options.
Why Consider TMJ Treatment?
Here are 5 reasons why you should consider TMJ Treatment to put your pain at rest.
1. Get Rid of Chronic Pain
You don’t need to suffer anymore with chronic pain. Whether it is pain in your jaw, ears or neck, and even chronic migraines, TMJ treatment will alleviate the pain help you live a better life. This means better work efficiency since you no longer need to deal with the pain.
2. Reduce Stiffness in the Jaws
A stiff jaw can make it difficult for you to eat your favorite food. It also makes it difficult for you to get the essential nutrients you require to thrive. Even the simplest of acts like talking and yawning can be absolute torture. TMJ treatment will allow you to enjoy even the most involuntary processes of opening the mouth once again.
3. Relieve Vision Problems
TMJ vision problems may seem like the strangest thing. Your TMJ is connected to nearly everything in your head, neck, and face. TMJ treatments treat the unrevealed cause of vision problems. This alleviates the pain for a long time and improves your vision that aids in carrying out daily activities safely.
4. Get Rid of Clicking and Popping
Opening the mouth too wide when eating or yawning and problems in temporomandibular joints can result in the clicking and popping of the jaw. It can impact your social life and blow out your confidence as a result. The right alignment of the jaws will get rid of the disturbing clicking and popping and restore your confidence.
5. A Good Night’s Sleep
If TMJ disorder is costing you a good night’s sleep, you’re definitely not giving your best shot at completing the day’s tasks. Getting a sound sleep is vital in being more productive.
Options for TMJ Treatment
TMJ disorders can be treated with the help of painkillers depending on the seriousness of the condition. However, it doesn’t stop the condition from worsening, and your doctor may recommend different treatment options.
2. TMJ Exercises
TMJ exercises are great for relieving pain as they take as little as 10 minutes and you can choose to do it at any time of the day. TMJ exercises help in improving the movement of your jaw joints. Jaw exercises are also instrumental in improving your posture. Poor posture can add unnecessary pressure to your face and head that can worsen the disorder.
Here are three simple exercises that allow you to perform them anywhere:
- Relaxed Jaw Muscle
Allow your tongue to rest on top of your mouth, just behind your upper front teeth. Let your teeth be apart while relaxing your jaw muscles.
- Chin Tuck
Keep your shoulders and chest up, while pulling your chin straight back, creating a “double chin”. Hold for 3 seconds each time and repeat exercise 10 times.
- Side-to-side Jaw Movement
Place ¼ of a tongue depressor between your front teeth. Slowly move your jaw from one side to the other. As you get accustomed to this exercise, stack a few more tongue depressors on your tongue and repeat the exercise.
Recovering from TMJ pain may require you to make some changes to your diet. Sticking to soft foods and avoiding sticky or chewy foods should be your priority. Soups and drinkable meals are the perfect picks that will give your jaw some time to heal. If you’re looking for a TMJ specialist in Goodyear, AZ, book an appointment with us today to get a step closer to a healthier jaw.
Dietary Measures That Will Dramatically Ease Your TMJ Pain
January 18, 2018
If you find it difficult to open your mouth completely, experience discomfort when chewing food, and your jaw locks often, you are likely suffering from TMJ disorder and your daily diet can make your condition severe. The main causes of the temporomandibular joint disorder are stress, misaligned teeth, and inflammatory musculoskeletal disorders but it is very important that you know the symptoms of this dysfunction.
Some of the symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- Swelling of the jaw
- Tooth grinding
- Jaw popping
- Locked jaw
- Frequent headaches
- Sharp pain when chewing food
- Inflamed nerves
- Painful yawning
- Tenderness in jaw muscles
- Ear ache and neck pain
These symptoms can also occur in other medical conditions and so it is important to consult a dentist who can accurately diagnose your TMJ symptoms. A complete dental check-up that is done using X-rays, CT scans and MRI ensures an accurate diagnosis which is essential to creating an effective treatment plan. If you encounter any of the signs or symptoms mentioned above, it is best to visit a dentist for an early diagnosis and timely TMJ treatment. Poor posture, lack of sleep, and hard foods can worsen your existing TMJ disorder. Visiting a dentist will help you determine the root cause of your problem and you will also be given certain corrective measures to alleviate the pain and discomfort.
Diet modification also plays a major role in providing faster relief so if you follow these dietary guidelines, you will experience better outcomes:
1. Foods to Avoid
If you are suffering from TMJ disorder, the top 5 foods that you should avoid in your daily diet include:
- Chewy foods that can make your jaw work harder like candy, nuts, bread, bagels, and steak.
- Inflammatory foods that can aggravate your joint pain like alcohol, tobacco, salt, sugar, processed foods, corn oil and carbohydrates.
- Foods rich in salicylates like juices, hot peppers, dairy, and olives that can worsen TMJ disorder in those who are allergic to salicylates.
2. Food to Include in Your Diet for Reduced Pain
If you are suffering from TMJ disorder, your daily diet needs to be rich in anti-inflammatory foods like fish such as mackerel and salmon, plant foods like broccoli, berries and leafy greens. You also need to increase your intake of foods that positively impact joint health and are rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, magnesium and selenium.
3. How to Eat When the Pain Flares Up
In order to reduce the pain radiating from your TMJ, you should increase your intake of fluids like soups, stews and smoothies. When you are eating solid foods, you must take small bites to limit the opening of the jaw, chew slowly, use sauces or gravies to soften the food, peel the skin of fruits and vegetables before consuming them and chop whole foods into bite-size pieces.
4. Eating Soft Foods for Pain Relief
Consuming a soft diet that contains scrambled eggs, yogurt, fruits, quinoa, and well-cooked vegetables will improve nutrition and offer relief from TMJ pain. You can also consume soft-cooked foods like fish sticks, meatballs, chicken, tuna, green beans, legumes, kale, squash and spinach. While this cannot be a permanent fix, following a soft food diet will help relax the jaw muscles and accelerate the healing process.
5. Eating Right for Enhanced Jaw Health
While a soft food diet works to heal your TMJ disorder, you can consider adding a few foods that are proven to enhance the health of your temporomandibular joint. These foods include fatty fish, ginger, eggplant, berries, grapes, bone broth and vegetable soup. Adding olive oil wherever you can and consuming dietary Vitamin D will work to reduce the pain and joint inflammation.
Finally, avoid stress because it has a negative impact on your temporomandibular joint and contributes to pain and discomfort. The key to an effective TMJ treatment and lasting relief is an early diagnosis that determines the root cause of the problem and helps confirm the next best treatment approach.
At Joshua Hong DDS, patients can be confident of receiving the right TMJ treatment in Goodyear AZ. Contact us today to experience a dramatic improvement in your painful condition and get treated by the best dentist in Goodyear.
The Strange Connection between TMJ Disorder, Stress, Anxiety & Depression
November 9, 2017
Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known simply as TMJ or TMD, is a condition that affects the hinge or joint connecting the upper and lower jaw. Chronic pain and other issues are common when this joint is not working as it should. People who suffer from this disorder often face depression, anxiety and stress as well.
Here’s what the research says about TMJ anxiety:
- A 2002 study by the National University of Singapore found that people with myofascial joint pain had higher levels of depression than those with only disk displacements.
- An International Journal of Prosthodontics study from 2006 found that patients with TMD had higher levels of depression, and psychological factors play a role.
- According to a Journal of Pain article from 2013 (based on a German research study), there is a moderate to strong link between depression and TMJ disorder.
What is the relation between stress and TMJ?
Severe teeth grinding or Bruxism can cause chronic pain which can lead to chemical changes in the brain whihch is why TMJ pain often turns to TMJ stress and TMJ depression. It’s harder for people dealing with chronic pain to handle changes in their environment, daily tasks and more. This can lead to TMJ anxiety or depression, even if there’s no direct cause-and-effect relationship linking these conditions.
How do TMJ symptoms cause or increase anxiety?
- Dizziness– TMJ affects blood vessels and nerves that go through the back of your jaw, and this can lead to neurological symptoms such as dizziness. This often happens suddenly and with no warning, causing significant amounts of anxiety or stress.
- Headaches– TMJ can cause morning headaches in many cases, which affects the way you start your day. In addition to the discomfort caused by TMJ or TMD headaches, studies suggest that starting your day on the wrong note raises anxiety levels as well.
- Chronic Pain– A common symptom of TMJ disorder is frequent and consistent pain in the jaw, temples or other parts of the face. Research shows that chronic pain, caused by your body’s attempt to deal with constant stress, could be a trigger for anxiety.
- Clicking Jaw– Temporomandibular joint disorder often causes a popping or clicking sensation in the jaw, which can lead to emotional distress if you don’t know what it is. You may also be blinking too often, which can be disturbing and even frightening.
- Tinnitus– Most people tune out the “ringing” sound in their ear, but this becomes more difficult to do if it’s loud or constant. Tinnitus caused by TMJ can lead to loss of sleep, distraction and anxiety, even though we don’t yet understand why this happens.
- Other TMJ Symptoms– Since TMD disorder affects nerves, it can lead to various other neurological symptoms linked to anxiety. Examples include involuntary muscle movements, numbness in limbs, tingling in extremities, and even impaired thinking.
TMJ can make existing symptoms of these conditions worse. Chronic pain and inflammation have been known to trigger anxiety-like symptoms in many cases, and other TMJ symptoms may also lead to increased stress, depression and anxiety.
How reducing stress can help you ease your TMJ symptoms?
When you are stressed, your muscles including those in your temporomandibular joint or TMJ get tight and sore. Your muscles stay overworked and cause pain and stiffness. Similarly, if you are experiencing TMJ symptoms, it affects your routine activities and can induce stress. This creates a cycle between TMJ and stress.
The key here is to make efforts to reduce stress or completely eliminate it. Consult a TMJ specialist to learn about what type of TMJ pain treatment techniques can help your case. Similarly, if you are grinding your teeth or are experiencing other symptoms of TMJ, consult a TMJ specialist who can help you relax your muscles, protect your teeth and address other TMJ symptoms.
How to relieve TMJ pain due to stress?
Here are a few effective ways to ease or relieve TMJ pain due to stress:
- Exercise, meditation, laughing out loud, getting some fresh air, etc., can help you handle stress effectively.
- Simple, quick stress relief practices such as breathing exercises, calming aroma therapy, relaxing your jaw if you notice yourself clenching it etc., can help you ease TMJ pain.
- Get a massage therapist to massage your jaw muscles. The advantage of this treatment is that it can prove beneficial in addressing both physical and physiological aspects of the pain.
- Ask a TMJ specialist to fit you with a mouthguard since it hinders teeth grinding and protects the teeth.
If you’re suffering from temporomandibular disorder and anxiety, stress or depression, it’s a good idea to seek treatment. Controlling your TMJ symptoms can help reduce other secondary symptoms as well. Even if the disorder isn’t actually the main cause of your anxiety or depression, it can make these issues worse.
You may need to seek medical advice for severe anxiety or depression, but an experienced dentist can help you with TMJ treatment. If you think TMD is causing stress or making existing issues worse, visit Dr. Joshua Hong’s clinic in Goodyear AZ for evaluation and treatment today!
Does TMD Affect Women More Often Than Men?
October 28, 2017
Did you know that about 90% of the ten million reported cases of people affected by TMJ are made by women in their child-baring years? In fact, studies revealed that women are about three times more likely than men to seek treatment for temporomandibular disorders and the ratio of the number of women seeking help for severe TMJ symptoms as compared to men is 9 to 1. These ratios only get higher as the severity of the disorder increases, thus indicating that women are more susceptible to the malfunctioning of the temporomandibular joint as opposed to men.
Why are Women More Susceptible to TMJ Disorders?
Pain can affect men and women differently. The main reason for such a disparity is the difference in the level of hormones between men and women. These hormones essentially function as chemical messengers within the body and can have a lot of side effects when the levels fluctuate. Women of childbearing age are especially susceptible to such hormonal imbalances and tend to have pronounced fluctuations in their levels of estrogen and progesterone, thereby putting them at the highest risk of developing TMD.
Apart from hormonal fluctuations, stress is also a leading cause of female TMD. Stress is one of the main predisposing factors for TMD and chronic anxiety and stress are known to affect more women than men.
Are Hormones the Only Cause of TMJ Disorders in Women?
Stress is another key factor that may contribute to more TMJ problems in women as women handle stress very differently from men. Research has linked chronic stress and anxiety with TMJ. For example, many TMJ sufferers clench or grind their teeth at night. This stress-related subconscious action can interfere with the working of the TMJ.
While the various studies conducted on the matter have provided us with promising results, further research is required to better understand the complexity of the disorder and why women are largely affected by it.
What Can Women Do To Reduce Their Risk?
TMD sufferers usually experience the following symptoms:
- Jaw pain
- Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears
- Neck aches or stiff neck
- Radiating pain in the face
- Inability to open jaw wide
- Pain when chewing
- Popping and clicking of the jaw
If you are facing any of the symptoms mentioned above, you must visit your dentist immediately and get your jaw checked. Discuss your symptoms with your dentist to understand if the cause of such discomfort is related to your TMJ or is an indicator of another health issue. Depending on the severity of the disorder, your dentist will then provide you with solutions to help alleviate the pain, which can range from simple self-care solutions or jaw exercises to facilitate the movement of your jaw bone and joint.
In some case cases, such pain or discomfort may be caused due to stress and will require you to take additional care of your jaw. Your dentist will be able to provide you with jaw exercises and a well-balanced diet to help avoid the chances of agitating the jaw bone and retaining its function.
You can also perform a period assessment to keep a check on your jaw function. Apart from checking for pain while chewing, swallowing and talking, you should be able to fit at least 3 fingers between your jaws when opening wide, while being able to your lower jaw side to side without pain. If you can perform these activities without any discomfort or pain, you can rest assured that your TMJ is working fine. However, if you feel any limitation in terms of movement or hear loud joint noises, you must get your jaw checked immediately.
If you need more information on TMD or the TMJ treatment plans and preventative measures, make an appointment with Joshua Hong DDS, an experienced dental clinic in Goodyear, AZ and receive expert guidance today!