Biting your nails, eating junk food, drinking too much coffee, playing with your hair, procrastinating, overcommitting…the list of bad habits goes on and on. Whether your bad habit is one of these we’ve listed or something else, your bad habits may be affecting your health. For those who have been diagnosed with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, your bad habits may be causing increased TMJ pain.
What are some of the worst habits for those with TMJ pain? Find out more about each one and learn how you can start to break the habit on your own:
Biting your nails forces your jaw to work in ways that it was not intended to work. This unnatural movement can aggravate your TMJ pain, causing unnecessary discomfort. How can you stop yourself from biting your nails? Give these ideas a try:
-Take care of your nails by trimming and filing them regularly.
-Invest in a professional manicure to keep them looking nice.
-Use a nail polish designed specifically for deterring nail biting.
-Ask your friends and family to help you kick the habit by calling attention to your unconscious nail biting.
GRINDING YOUR TEETH OR CLENCHING YOUR JAW
Whether you find yourself grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw at night or throughout the day, both can lead to increased TMJ-related jaw pain. Work on breaking this habit before it causes ongoing TMJ pain by trying these methods:
-Manage your stress and anxiety levels. Stress and anxiety are closely tied to tooth grinding and jaw clenching.
-The next time you have an appointment with your TMJ specialist Los Angeles, inquire about a mouth piece to protect your teeth and jaw.
-Start to train yourself by positioning your tongue in between your teeth throughout the day to keep your teeth from touching.
NOT USING SCISSORS
Your teeth were never meant to be a substitute for scissors or other sharp tools. By using your teeth like they are scissors, you put yourself at risk of developing increased TMJ pain because of the unusual positions and movements you’re making with your teeth and jaw. Change things up and give your jaw a break. Here’s some ways you can start breaking this habit:
-Carry a small pair of scissors with you, possibly from a nail kit, to snip bags or packaging open without using your teeth.
-Ask others for help if you can’t open any packaging—they may have something sharp with them to make it easier to open.
EATING CRUNCHY OR HARD FOODS
No matter how great they taste, there are just some foods that cause more TMJ pain than they’re worth. Staying away from foods that are hard or crunchy can help you avoid moving your jaw in unnatural ways while you’re chewing. Break this habit by avoiding certain foods, including:
-Some fruits and vegetables- apples, raw carrots and celery
-Caramels, taffies and hard chocolate candy bars
-Crunchy cereals and granolas
-Snacks like popcorn or chips
Breaking a bad habit can take time, so don’t get frustrated if these small changes end up taking longer than expected. The time investment will be worth it when your TMJ pain starts to decrease. If you’re having trouble managing your TMJ pain, or breaking your bad habits, it may be time to make an appointment with a TMJ specialist.
Dr. Jacob Elisha has over 30 years of experience in the field of dentistry, periodontics, and cutting-edge restorative techniques in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Jacob Elisha is an authority in on TMJ Disorders. He has successfully treated patients with TMJ disorders in Los Angeles in the past and looks forward to the future.
TMJ Disorders. An award-winning oral maxillofacial surgeon and Los Angeles TMJ specialist, Dr. Jacob Elisha is known for providing among the most effective TMJ treatment Beverly Hills has to offer—improving jaw function and delivering permanent relief from chronic pain.
TMJ disorders affect your temporomandibular joint, which allows your mouth to open and move smoothly. We offer specialized treatment in Los Angeles, CA . The temporomandibular (tem-puh-roe-man-DIB-u-lur) joint (TMJ) acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. You have one joint on each side of your jaw. TMJ disorders — a type of temporomandibular disorder or TMD — can cause pain in your jaw joint and in the muscles that control jaw movement. The exact cause of a person’s TMJ disorder is often difficult to determine. Your pain may be due to a combination of factors, such as genetics, arthritis or jaw injury. Some people who have jaw pain also tend to clench or grind their teeth (bruxism), although many people habitually clench or grind their teeth and never develop TMJ disorders. In most cases, the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorders is temporary and can be relieved with self-managed care or nonsurgical treatments. Surgery is typically a last resort after conservative measures have failed, but some people with TMJ disorders may benefit from surgical treatments. TMJ disorders can also cause a clicking sound or grating sensation when you open your mouth or chew. But if there’s no pain or limitation of movement associated with your jaw clicking, you probably don’t need treatment for a TMJ disorder. Seek medical attention if you have persistent pain or tenderness in your jaw, or if you can’t open or close your jaw completely. Your doctor, your dentist or a TMJ specialist can discuss possible causes and treatments for your problem.
What are the risk factors for TMJ syndrome? There are several risk factors for TMD: Poor posture in the neck and upper back muscles may lead to neck strain and abnormalities of jaw muscle function. Stress may increase muscle tension and jaw clenching. Women 18-44 years of age have increased risk. Patients with other chronic inflammatory arthritis have increased risk. People with jaw trauma or poorly positioned teeth have increased risk. People who have a genetic predisposition to pain sensitivity and increased stress responses may be more susceptible.
The temporomandibular joint is more commonly referred to as the TMJ joint, but what is TMJ? This joint is actually located at the base of the skull in front of the ear structure and connects the lower jaw (mandible) with the upper jaw (maxilla). Unlike most joints located in the body, the TMJ is unique in its structure, composed of a rounded protrusion of the mandible that sits against an indentation in the skull, and a disc-like structure made of a soft bone called cartilage found in between the two bones (articular disc). These three parts of the TMJ are held together by ligaments originating from different parts of the head and neck to support the jaw and guide its movements. Several muscles are connected to those ligaments, and many aid in the motion of the lower jaw. How Does it Work? The TMJ works in two ways to open your mouth: The first way is like a hinge to simply open and close the mouth, just like a hinge on a door. The second way is a sliding motion called translation, wherein your lower jaw moves down and forward. This motion helps the TMJ to move backward and forward and from side to side for actions such as eating, yawning and singing – some of the most common. What Can Happen to the TMJ? Like any other joint in the body, the TMJ can be fractured, swell and become sore, causing limited movement of the lower jaw and pain radiating to the head and neck area. A fracture to the actual articular disc is rare, but it can be displaced, causing severe pain and swelling. Unlike other joints such as knees and hips, arthritis of the TMJ is very rare, and hard to treat with anti-inflammatory drugs alone. Nonetheless, pain in the TMJ is often temporary, and can be treated with a combination of ice then heat to relieve the sore ligaments and muscles surrounding the joint. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the joint that connects the jaw to the temporal bones of the skull. Temporomandibular joint disorder, known more commonly as TMD, occurs when there are problems with the muscles and jaws in the face. There are many signs and symptoms of TMD. It’s often hard to know for sure if you have TMD, because one or all of these symptoms can also be present for other problems. Your dentist can help make a proper diagnosis. What About Grinding and Clenching? Sometimes, pain in the TMJ can come from the teeth themselves, as opposed to the TMJ and surrounding ligaments.
As a TMJ doctor, Dr. Jacob Elisha delivers a TMJ treatment in Los Angeles for patients who are suffering from extreme pain to help resolve the condition. Because TMJ disorders can be extremely painful, Dr. Jacob Elisha’s first priority is symptom relief. Although these measures won’t permanently cure TMJ, they will alleviate much of the chronic pain associated with the condition. This variety makes diagnosis and treatment challenging. An accurate diagnosis is critical for successful treatment. For instance, patients with a muscle problem that is causing pain will most likely not benefit from surgery on the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Ask about your doctor’s experience in diagnosing and treating TMJ and facial pain. Most problems, whether muscular or within the joint, get better over time. For this reason, most experts agree that it’s best to use conservative treatment at first. But in some instances, surgery or other procedures, such as injections, may be recommended as a first treatment. Most people with TMD have temporary symptoms that are not serious and do not get worse. They usually can get better with simple treatments done at home. Sometimes symptoms go away without any treatment at all. They also can come back without warning. If you have TMD, your dentist may suggest the treatments listed below. Most dentists agree that these treatments work best in combination. You may not get relief using only one. To begin, Dr. Jacob Elisha will prescribe a pain reliever, anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxant to relieve muscle spasms and joint pain. In some cases, he may also inject a specialized steroid directly into the joints to dramatically reduce pain and inflammation. From there, Dr. Jacob Elisha will prescribe self-care treatments—advising the patient to rest the jaw, eat soft foods, apply ice to the affected area and practice proper posture. Depending on the specifics of your TMJ disorder, he may also recommend physical therapy to improve jaw function.