Eating is like breathing: We often do it without much thought. But if you suffer from chronic jaw pain, every bite can get your attention—and not in a good way. What's worse, in an effort to avoid the pain associated with a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) you might make less than nutritious food choices.
But there are ways to eat healthy without aggravating the symptoms of TMD—not just your choices of food, but also how you prepare and actually eat the food. Here are 4 tips that can help you manage eating with TMD.
Choose moist foods in sauces or gravy. A lot of chewing action is intended to mix saliva with tough or dry foods to make them easier to digest. But this extra jaw action can irritate the jaw joints and muscles and increase your discomfort. To help reduce your jaws' work load, choose foods with a high moisture content, or cook them in a sauce or gravy.
Peel foods with skin. Fresh fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, but their tough outer skin or peel is often hard to chew. Although these parts may also contain nutrients, removing them allows you to gain most of the nutritional benefit of the food while making it easier to chew it.
Cut foods into bite-size pieces. A lot of discomfort with TMD occurs with having to open the jaws wide to accommodate large pieces of food. To minimize the amount of jaw opening, take time to cut all your food portions down into smaller pieces. Doing so can help you avoid unnecessary discomfort.
Practice deliberate eating. All of us can benefit from slower, more methodical eating, but it's especially helpful for someone with TMD. By chewing deliberately and slowly and doing your best to limit jaw opening, you can enhance your comfort level.
Eating often becomes an arduous task for someone with TMD that increases pain and stress. But practicing these tips can make your dining experience easier—and more enjoyable.
If you would like more information on managing TMD in everyday life, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “What to Eat When TMJ Pain Flares Up.”
Are you dealing with jaw pain? TMJ disorders (also called temporomandibular disorders) can cause pain and compromised movement of the jaw joint and the surrounding muscles. TMJ is treatable by medical professionals. Frechtman Family Dental of Edison, which is located in Edison, NJ, offers the best treatments for TMJ disorders. Dr. Saul Frechtman and Dr. David Frechtman are some of the dentists in Edison, NJ.
Over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription medications are used to relieve the pain associated with TMJ disorders. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as naproxen or ibuprofen are a mainstay of treatment.
2. Occlusal Appliances
Mouth guards and oral splints (occlusal appliances) are used for treating TMJ disorders. Mouth guards are coverings worn over teeth. They're used to protect the teeth from grinding at night. This can help alleviate muscle tension at night and relieve TMJ pain. Oral splints are removable appliances that fit over the teeth. Oral splints are designed to relax the muscles that control your jaw, relieve pain, and protect your teeth from further wear.
3. Cortisone Injections
Steroid injections, also called cortisone injections, are used to relieve pain associated with TMJ disorders. The injections usually comprise a local anesthetic and corticosteroid medication. The cortisone starts working in a few days and its effect can last up to a few months. You can get steroid injections at your doctor's office.
4. TMJ Exercises
TMJ exercise may relieve your pain. Your dentist may show you show to do exercises that stretch and strengthen your jaw muscles and how to massage the muscles yourself. It’s unclear exactly how TMJ exercises relieve pain. They're thought to help strengthen jaw muscles, increase jaw mobility, reduce jaw clicking, and promote jaw healing.
5. Surgical Procedures
In some cases, TMJ symptoms will be severe enough that you’ll need to undergo TMJ surgery. A few oral and maxillofacial surgery options are available. TMJ surgery is only recommended when less invasive treatments have failed. Surgery is performed to restore jaw function and relieve pain.
Jaw pain hurts, but you don't have to suffer. Don't wait another minute- call Frechtman Family Dental of Edison at 732-548-8600 today to schedule a dental consultation in Edison, NJ. Get your life back on track by receiving the best TMJ treatment available.
What your dentists in Edison want you to know
There are many conditions that can result in jaw pain. Pain in your jaws can affect your everyday life. It can radiate into other areas of your face and neck. The pain can be sharp and stabbing, or deep and throbbing. It can last for minutes, or be a chronic problem that lasts for days or weeks. Drs. Saul and David Frechtman at Frechtman Family Dental in Edison, NJ want to help relieve your jaw pain.
A frequent cause of jaw pain is inflammation of your temporomandibular joint, known as the TMJ. This joint has a unique movement much like a sliding hinge. It connects your lower jawbone to your skull and helps you open and close your jaw. The TMJ can sometimes be knocked or moved out of position, causing irritation, inflammation, and swelling. You will feel pressure and pain that can sometimes be severe.
Common signs and symptoms of TMJ problems include:
Fortunately, there are effective treatments for jaw pain related to your TMJ. Your dentists in Edison may recommend:
Jaw pain can also be the result of erupting third molars, commonly called wisdom teeth. Wisdom tooth eruption can be felt between the ages of 18 and 25. If there is not enough room for wisdom teeth, the erupting teeth will put pressure on the teeth around them, causing pain. The soft tissue around the wisdom teeth can also become infected, causing pressure and pain. Treatment is usually removal of the wisdom teeth.
Grinding or clenching your teeth is another common cause of jaw pain. When you clench or grind, your teeth press against each other with excessive force, causing wear on your teeth and inflammation in your jaws. Chronic clenching and grinding can result in inflammation of the TMJ and the possible need for tooth restorations and root canals.
If you think you are grinding or clenching, a custom-made nightguard might be the answer. Nightguards protect your teeth against grinding forces and injury. You wear the nightguard while you sleep so you grind the nightguard instead of your teeth.
You can get relief from jaw pain from the experts. Call Drs. Saul and David Frechtman at Frechtman Family Dental in Edison, NJ. Call today!
Don’t let jaw pain rule your life. Find out how your Edison dentist can help!
Are you dealing with jaw stiffness and pain? Do you notice a popping or clicking sound when opening your mouth? Is recurrent facial pain driving you crazy? If this sounds like you, then you could be dealing with a common disorder known as temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ. Learn more about this condition, the many treatment options and how Drs. Saul and David Frechtman can help ease your TMJ symptoms.
What is TMJ disorder?
This group of jaw conditions causes pain and other problems for the joints and muscles that affect how the jaw moves. It’s believed that trauma to the jaw can play a role in the development of these disorders; however, sometimes there is no known cause.
When should I see a doctor?
If you are experiencing chronic or serious pain or tenderness in the jaw, or if you are having trouble opening or close your jaw, then it’s time you talked to our Edison TMJ specialist to figure out the best course of action.
How is TMJ disorder treated?
There are some cases in which the symptoms may just go away without even needing treatment, but if symptoms are persistent or recurrent, then there are some ways to ease and even eliminate your symptoms:
If these common therapies and treatments don’t work, then surgery might be the next treatment to consider. Of course, it’s always important to talk to your dentist in Edison, NJ about the pros and cons of having surgery to correct your TMJ disorder.
Don’t let TMJ-related pain get you down. Turn to the dental experts at Frechtman Family Dental of Edison to get the pain relief you deserve. Schedule an appointment with us today!