Do you experience constant headaches? What about frequent earaches? If you suffer from chronic face and neck pain you may be exhibiting symptoms of a serious medical disorder. Over 10 million Americans report symptoms of TMJ disorder, also known as TMD. In today’s blog, your Rochester Family Dentist, Dr. Gilly Calcagno, discusses some simple muscle exercises you can do to ease TMD-related pain.
What is TMJ Disorder?
TMD results from excessive strain on the temporomandibular joint. This joint connects the jaw to the skull. The temporomandibular joint controls all movement of the jaw, such as chewing and talking. Patients with TMJ disorder experience a wide range of symptoms, including headaches, earaches, tinnitus, a popping or clicking sound in the jaw, and neck pain. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a common cause of TMD. Patients with a misaligned bite can also develop TMJ disorder.
Dr. Calcagno sometimes recommends simple muscle exercises to address your TMJ disorder. Before trying these techniques, always consult Dr. Calcagno. Patients may want to apply a warm compress to the side of the face to alleviate discomfort. One simple exercise involves looking in the mirror, then opening and closing your mouth. TMD-sufferers may notice their jaw opening to one side. Try opening and closing your mouth completely straight, and repeat this exercise three times for three sets daily. Another exercise involves opening your mouth as wide as possible and closing it. Then open your mouth towards the right and close it, and open your mouth towards the left and close it. Repeat this exercise three times a day.
In addition to muscle exercises, your Rochester family dentist may also prescribe an oral appliance. Similar to a mouth guard, this dental device is worn at night while the patient sleeps. The mouth guard prevents the upper and lower teeth from making contact, which eliminates teeth grinding and allows jaw muscles to relax. Over time, an oral appliance can relieve TMD symptoms. For many patients, teeth grinding is caused by an increase in stress. Simply reducing the amount of anxiety in your life sometimes decreases bruxism and eases TMD-related aches.
Schedule a Visit with Your Rochester Family Dentist
Are you experiencing pain as a result of TMJ disorder? Contact Dr. Calcagno today for a diagnosis and to discuss treatment options by calling 507-281-3659. Our 55902 dentist office offers the latest in general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry. We serve patients from Rochester, Red Wing, St. Charles, Winona, Farmington, and surrounding areas.