So you have TMJ, what now?


TMJ muscles, formally known as temporomandibular joints, are the joints and jaw muscles that make it possible to open and close your mouth. The jaw muscles are located on each side of your head and work together to help you chew, speak, or swallow and include muscles and ligaments as well as your jaw bone.

TMJ muscles also control the lower jaw as it moves forward, backward and side to side.Each TMJ has a disc between the ball and socket that cushions the load when enabling the jaw to move. Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs, and bones from working properly can result in a painful TMJ disorder.

TMJ disorder can be caused by:

• Arthritis • Injury • Stress and teeth grinding • Tooth and jaw alignment • Dislocation

Symptoms of TMJ can include pain in your jaw including tenderness, headache, earache, clicking, popping, or difficulty moving the jaw. If you are experiencing symptoms of TMJ, call our office to set up an appointment at 239-936-0597 so we can evaluate you.

In the meantime, here are some tips you can try in your daily life to make your TMJ disorder a little more bearable:

• Eat softer foods that are high in flavonoids (plant-based antioxidants, known to reduce joint pain), such as cooked fruits and vegetables • Avoid chewing gum and biting nails • Avoid saturated fats, fried foods, and caffeine. These food can sometimes increase inflammation. • Practice relaxation techniques like meditation or biofeedback • Use heat packs to modify the pain

If symptoms persist, we may recommend exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles, medications such as muscle relaxants or analgesics, or a night guard to decrease clenching or grinding of teeth.

TMJ disorder treatment options are on a case by case basis, so if you suspect you suffer from TMJ and are in pain, talk to our office about the best treatment options for you. For an appointment, contact us at info@myfortmyersdentist.com or call us at 239-936-0597.

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