Three Ways To Help Prevent Your Jaw From Locking When You Have TMJ

Health & Medical Blog

Temporomandibular joint disorder is a difficult condition to have. In addition to the pain and stiffness that the jaw can undergo, some people experience jaw locking. When jaw locking occurs, you can't open your mouth or can only open it the tiniest bit. This situation is typically painful and frightening. If you've had your jaw lock before or simply want to avoid it ever happening at all, give these tips a try.

Avoid Bad Habits

Certain bad habits increase your risk of having your jaw lock. For example, biting your nails, chewing on toothpicks, or enjoying hard foods like brittle force the jaw to tightly close and tense the muscles running over your jaw and temporomandibular joint. When you perform this behavior, you increase the likelihood of having your jaw lock. Although it can be difficult, you should try to leave these bad habits behind to keep your jaw healthy and happy.

Get a Custom Mouthguard

Mouthguards are often used at night to help people to stop grinding their teeth. This is especially important if you have TMJ.

People with TMJ are more likely to grind their teeth, but the temporomandibular joint also suffers from being held in a tightly closed position all night long. You can hurt your teeth and your jaw when you grind.

Before you head out and buy a standard mouthguard, you should speak with a doctor first. Most mouthguards sold in drug stores are clearly marked as not being intended for people with TMJ. This is because they may hold the mouth open at an awkward angle and cause jaw locking. Instead, have a dentist make you a custom one.

Reduce Muscle Tightness

The last tip you can use to reduce the pain and stiffness in your jaw is to do everything you can to ease muscle tightness in your jaw.

Some easy ways to do this include pain relievers like ibuprofen, which help to loosen tight muscles and prevent muscle cramping. Another is to use massage techniques to help loosen up the muscles around your temporomandibular joint. These techniques can be utilized before you go to sleep to prevent waking up with a locked jaw, and during the day to keep your jaw comfortable.

With these tips, you can greatly reduce your risk of having your jaw lock. If you're having difficulty with this on a regular basis, talk to a doctor to see if there's additional treatment they can offer you to ease your pain and stiffness. Contact a center like The Alpher Center to learn more.


19 September 2018

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