If you have been affected by jaw pain, you may be questioning whether or not you have Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMJ. This condition, involving the structure linking the upper and lower jaws, is often diagnosed from symptoms such as complications chewing, tenderness or pain in the jaw joint area, and/or a sense of fatigue in the facial or neck structure. The affected area is one of the most frequently utilized in the body (employed in actions such as yawning, speaking, eating, and etc.), in addition to being one of the strongest (generating approximately 265 pounds of force according to a 1994 study).

Dr. Dan A. Knellinger, Dr. Stacey K. Verkler, and Dr. Carol Bou-Sliman at Palm Harbor Dentistry in Palm Harbor, Florida, have extensive experience treating patients afflicted by these concerns. A majority of the population, up to 75% of Americans may be affected with indicative issues regarding this structure, but most of these are resolved with a minimal amount of effort or interference. If you are experiencing jaw pain, utilizing the following steps may resolve the issues:

• Side sleeping: Use a pillow to support your neck and shoulder, while sleeping on your side.
• Practice supportive yawning: Rest your chin on your fist when you yawn, in order to forestall joint damage, preventing your jaw from locking in an open state.
• Practice calming activities: Pain can be reduced, in some cases, with exercises such as deep breathing, guided imagery, and/or practicing yoga, meditation or receiving a massage.
• Employ ice: Utilizing a wrapped ice pack on the area for 10-15 minutes maximum, to numb pain, may reduce inflammation and encourage healing.

Those who are afflicted with jaw pain should be mindful to avoid:

• Chewing gum or other inedible objects
• Grinding teeth
• Biting fingernails or lips
• Clenching the jaw
• Cradling the phone on your shoulder
• Playing brass, string or wind instruments (as this can thrust back your jaw and/or induce jaw strain or stress)

Call Palm Harbor Dentistry at 727-228-8000 today to schedule an appointment. Speak with our professionals about your options for the care and treatment of TMJ.