Claudine Dental Practice - St Cirencester

Stress & TMJ

With the current climate, it’s understandable if you are feeling a little stressed. You may have noticed you are clenching or grinding your teeth. Stress may subconsciously contribute to us clenching more frequently than usual, which creates more pressure within the jaw (or temporomandibular joints). Over time, this can lead to poor control of the muscles responsible for opening and closing the mouth. Don’t panic, it’s not uncommon, some people aren’t even aware they are doing it!

Stress and teeth grinding are factors that can possibly lead to developing TMJ Disorder (TMD) It’s not usually serious and can get better on its own.

What is TMJ?

The TMJ connects your lower jaw (mandible) to the skull (temporal bone) in front of your ear.

What symptoms might I have?

There is a range of symptoms you may experience which include

– Pain while chewing

– Locking of the jaw joint

– Headaches

– Pain in your ear, face, jaw or neck

– Clicking, grating or popping sound when you open or close our mouth

Is there anything I can do to help it?

Yes! Here are some Do’s and Don’ts you might find helpful

Do –

– eat soft food, like pasta, omelettes and soup

– take paracetamol or ibuprofen

– hold ice packs or heat packs to the jaw, whichever feels better

– try to find ways to relax (not always easy, we know!)

Don’t –

– chew gum

– bite food with your front teeth

– yawn too wide

– bite your nails

– clench your teeth – apart from when eating, your teeth should be apart

– rest your chin on your hand

There are also some exercises you can do yourself that will help ease symptoms