Nearly everyone has some habit that they use to release nervous energy when they feel stressed. In some people, tooth grinding or jaw clenching, also known as
, may contribute to pain in the temporomandibular joint. Finding other ways to
may help decrease your pain.
Wear Night Guards
A night guard is a customized plastic device, usually made by a dentist, which fits over your teeth. The device is worn at night to reduce the damage to teeth and jaw joints caused by clenching and grinding.
Stop Chewing Gum
Habitual gum chewers sometimes have jaw pain because of overuse. For some people, chewing gum is a nervous habit. If you are a regular gum chewer, consider breaking the habit to see if this improves your symptoms of TMD.
Avoid Opening Your Mouth Very Wide
Be aware of how wide you open your mouth. This may give your jaw a chance to rest and heal.
Eat Softer Foods
Your doctor might recommend that you eat soft foods to rest your jaw.
Cummings CW. Otolaryngology:
Head & Neck Surgery
. 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby; 2005.
Griffith’s 5-Minute Clinical Consult
. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006.
Okeson, Jeffrey. Clinical Management of Temporomandibular Disorders and Occlusion. 6th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby 2007.
Siccoli MM. Facial pain: a clinical differential diagnosis.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a