TMJ, or temporomandibular joint disorder (also referred to as TMD), is a condition that affects your jaw, its joints, and surrounding muscles. TMJ occurs when there is an issue in your temporomandibular joints – the ‘hinges’ that connect your jaw structure to your skull. Unfortunately, this is what helps you to open and close your mouth, chew, and even talk. In severe cases, TMJ can actually hinder your ability to perform these functions and cause great discomfort. While it is treatable, you may be wondering; can you prevent TMJ? In short, yes you can – but first, you must know the risks behind the disorder.
Risk Factors For TMJ
- Age – specifically 20 and 40
- Bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching)
- Emotional factors – anger, frustration, stress, anxiety, etc.
Preventing TMJ Disorder
Now that you know the risk factors that lead to TMJ, hopefully it’ll help you be more aware of your jaw – making it easier to prevent the disorder completely. For example, if you feel stressed out (or know that you’re getting to that point), it’s probably a good idea to look into some relaxation techniques or find a stress-relief therapy to help you. That way, you can find different ways to cope with the emotional distress, instead of taking it out on your teeth (as it’s also a risk factor for bruxism – which can additionally lead to TMJ).
On the other hand, if you notice that you jaw is beginning to feel sore or tired, you can start taking steps to help it relax. Such as; avoiding hard food or candies (and especially gum), keep good posture, and gently massaging your jaw and neck.
If you’re experiencing any jaw pain, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist. They’ll be able to help you find the best route for treatment and get your face and jaw feeling back to normal in no time!