Dentist in Huntington Beach: Tips to Relieve TMJ Pain

December 31, 2022

man with facial pain from TMJThe temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, are the most complex joints in the body. It’s no wonder that so many people suffer from TMJ disorder. If you have TMJ disorder, you may experience clicking sounds, muscle pain in the cheeks and temples, pain in the jaw, difficulty chewing or talking, and/or locking of the joint. 

After an examination of your teeth and jaws, Dr. Jason Cellars, dentist in Huntington Beach, can create a plan to relieve your TMJ pain. Treatment options may involve at-home remedies or in-office services at our dental practice. Learn more about your treatment options below. 

Tip #1: Correct Your Posture

Did your parents or grandparents nag you about your posture growing up? If you didn’t listen and still have poor posture, you may be suffering because of it. Our bodies function best when our joints, bones, and muscles are properly aligned. A misaligned spine causes the jaw to lower and protrude forward. This creates a bad bite– one of the leading causes of TMJ disorder. 

Practice good posture. Keep your shoulders back and your chest forward. Make sure your office chair has good support, you are wearing supportive footwear, and you are doing exercises to retrain your spine

Tip #2: Avoid Caffeine

Caffeine consumption contributes to TMJ pain in a couple of ways: 

  1. Caffeine can lead to dehydration. As a diuretic, caffeine causes the body to release more fluids. When the muscles in the jaw are dehydrated, they do not function properly. 

  2. Caffeine is a stimulant. Consuming too much caffeine can lead to feelings of anxiety and irritability, and restlessness or insomnia. All of these things can trigger teeth grinding or clenching which worsens TMJ pain. 

Reduce your caffeine intake by substituting regular coffee for decaf, cutting out sodas, and cutting yourself off by a certain time in the early afternoon. 

Tip #3: Take A Break From Certain Foods

When eating crunchy, chewy, and hard foods, your jaw exerts a lot of energy and force. Avoid these foods for a couple of days and limit them in your daily diet. Choose these soft, easy-to-chew foods instead: 

  • Eggs

  • Yogurt

  • Shredded meats

  • Steamed vegetables

  • Canned fruit

  • Applesauce

  • Oatmeal

  • Fish

  • Cottage cheese

Tip #4: Address Bad Habits

Do you bite your fingernails? Chew ice? Chew gum? These bad habits can also cause your jaw to exert more force than needed. Stop these bad habits and your TMJ pain may reduce. 

Tip #5: Use A Hot or Cold Compress

Heat increases blood flow and relaxes the muscles. Ice reduces swelling and pain. You can apply a hot or cold (or switch between both) to your jaw for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. 

No relief? Schedule an appointment with our Huntington Beach dentist today!

If these tips don’t help or if you are experiencing more frequent and long-lasting TMJ pain, schedule an appointment with Dr. Cellars. We offer various treatment options, such as: 

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications 

  • Muscle relaxants

  • Orthodontics

  • Cortisone injections

  • Lavage of the joint

In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. 

Call (714) 848-4247 to make an appointment. 

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