These Things May Be Making Your TMJ Worse

LVI-Trained Dentist Serving Oakton, Vienna, McLean and Nearby Northern Virginia


Man feels pain in middle ear, meningitis and hearing lossDo you often have headaches? Does your jaw always feel tender and painful? You may have TMJ. Here is some more information on this painful condition, what you may be doing to make it worse, and how you can find relief.

What Is TMJ?

TMJ is the common term for temporomandibular joint disorder (also known as “TMD”). It is a dysfunction of the temporomandibular joint that can be caused by a number of factors (or even a combination of factors), such as: a misalignment of teeth, which can happen if you are missing a tooth and your other teeth start to move out of place; an injury to the jaw; a connective tissue disease; genetics; and/or years of tooth grinding (bruxism).

TMJ causes a lot of stress on your jaw and your facial and neck muscles. Symptoms of TMJ include headaches, pain while eating and talking, pain in and around the ear, a popping or clicking sound when you open and close your mouth, and the jaw “locking up.”

Avoid These Things if You Have TMJ

Here are some things that may be making your TMJ pain worse:

  • Smoking. This can aggravate arthritis, which can play a part in jaw pain.
  • Eating chewy or hard foods. This includes hard candy, bagels, tough meat, and carrots and other hard vegetables and fruits.
  • Slouching. Sitting or standing with poor posture for a long period of time can trigger pain in your upper back, neck, and even your jaw.
  • Using your teeth for things besides eating. You should avoid using your teeth as a tool, such as for opening packages, and you shouldn’t chew on hard objects such as pens and pencils.
  • Living with constant stress. Avoiding stress may be easier said than done, of course, but stress tenses up your muscles and can make your jaw hurt.

If your TMJ only seems to be getting worse no matter what you do, the staff at Softouch Dental Care can help. There are several different treatment options available, and they can help you to find the right one for your pain. Softouch Dental Care serves Oakton, Vienna, and Fairfax, Virginia – call 703-319-6990 for an appointment today!