Temporomandibular joint disorder, commonly called TMD, afflicts millions of people. It causes them to suffer from chronic jaw pain, difficulty chewing, headaches, neck pain, and more. Is there any way you can save yourself from the discomfort of TMD? This page discusses TMD risk factors, methods for protecting your jaw from TMD, and how Dr. Gasper, your dentist in Colorado Springs, can help you find relief from TMD pain.
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TMD Risk Factors
In some cases, TMD pops up with seemingly no rhyme or reason. However, most of the time, there are specific risk factors that contribute to TMD, such as:
- Stress. A high level of stress in your life may cause you to engage in behaviors that harm the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), such as teeth grinding, jaw clenching, lip biting, and chewing on hard objects.
- Structural problems. Due to natural deformities or trauma, structural problems in or around the jaw may lead to TMD. For example, malocclusion (a misaligned bite) can place excess stress on the TMJ. An injury to the mouth may also lead to TMD.
- Medical conditions. Arthritis and fibromyalgia may both contribute to TMD.
- Age and gender. Women between 30 and 50 years of age are the most likely group to suffer from TMD.
- Poor posture. Leaning forward all the time, or resting your chin on your hand, may increase your risk of TMD.
How to Prevent TMD
Of course, you may have some risk factors for TMD that are beyond your control. However, there are some thing you can do to decrease the likelihood that you’ll suffer from problems with your TMJ:
- Manage your stress. A vacation, more time with your loved ones, or other stress management techniques may relieve muscle tension in the jaw and help you conquer bad habits that contribute to TMD.
- Be careful of how you chew. Try to distribute food evenly on both sides of your mouth and take small bites of food. It’s also a good idea not to constantly chew gum.
- Mind your posture. Try to keep your posture upright, and avoid cradling your phone between your shoulder and neck. It may also be worthwhile to invest in ergonomic furniture.
- Receive orthodontic treatment. If you have a malocclusion or misaligned teeth, Invisalign or braces may be able to help you prevent TMD.
The Importance of TMD Treatment
If you begin to experience TMD symptoms, facial massage, stress relief, and changes to your daily habits may help relieve your pain. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t seek professional help. Dr. Gasper will do more than address your symptoms. He’ll use his decades of training and experience to seek the cause behind your jaw pain, and he’ll design a treatment plan that is tailored to your unique needs.
Do you believe you could benefit from TMJ therapy in Colorado Springs? Contact our team to schedule an appointment.