2017 was a rough year for many of us. Between severe hurricanes, fires, and an unsettled political landscape, it might feel like 2018 couldn’t come soon enough. For those suffering from TMD pain, this might be especially true.

The temporomandibular joint functions as a hinge connecting your jaw to the temporal bones. Problems that arise in this joint, including what is commonly referred to as TMJ, are known as temporomandibular disorders (TMD). These disorders can arise for a variety of reasons like arthritis, stress, or even genetics, and common symptoms can include lockjaw, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), migraines, ear pain, and dizziness.

If you suffer from TMD, and you’re hoping for a pain-free 2018, here are three TMD pain relief secrets to set you up for a happier, more productive year.

3 Secrets for TMD Pain Relief

TMD Exercises

According to a study published in the Journal of Dental Research in 2010, TMD exercises, when done correctly, can be extremely effective at curbing pain, and increasing the mouth opening range of patients.

A few exercises can include:

  • Chin Stretches

An exercise completed by putting your hands behind your back, straightening your shoulders, pulling your chin upwards, holding for a count of ten, then pointing your chin downwards and doing the same.

  • Resistance Training

In this exercise, you apply a light pressure with your fingers while slowly opening and closing your mouth.

  • Tongue Touches

Done by touching your tongue to the roof of your mouth while slowly opening and closing your mouth, this can help gradually increase your mouth’s range of motion.

Cut Out the Gum

This is a big one for those with mild to severe pain. Although chewing gum can momentarily provide relief from TMD, it can often cause more damage. To use a simile, chewing gum with a damaged temporomandibular joint is like running a 5k with a weak Achilles tendon. Our body needs time to heal damaged tendons, and chewing gum can continually undo that progress.

Fix That Diet

Much like gum, a steady diet of hard foods may be impeding your body from healing. Swap out raw vegetables for steamed, and avoid hard breads altogether. It is also helpful to keep your diet high in foods rich with anti-inflammatory properties. Fatty fish, broccoli, spinach, kale, turmeric, ginger, and bone broth can help keep inflammation low, and allow your body to heal quicker.

Schedule a Dentist Appointment

Home care is a great place to start when trying to relieve TMJ, but you also have to recognize when it’s not working. If you’ve been struggling to treat TMD symptoms for the better part of 2017, then it’s time you schedule an appointment for professional care. TMD can be a degenerative disorder, and the longer you wait the worse it could get.

There are several drug-free TMD treatments that can help reduce the severity of symptoms, and sometimes eliminate them altogether. Please call 940-322-2252 today for an appointment with a Wichita Falls TMJ dentist at StarImage Dentistry.