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Stress and Your TMJ Disorder

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Stress can actually affect your TMJ

image-stress-tmjFirst of all you may be wondering how stress can affect your temporomandibular joint (for short your TMJ). Stress is a powerful factor and can have surprising effects on your body. Worry and anxiety, which are two components of stress, accelerate your heart beat and when this takes place your blood flow rapidly increases too which is not good for your heart so your body responds in certain ways by sending out alarm calls so that you can react quickly and diffuse any serious side effect of this increase in stress.

Worrying about an aspect of your job, how your kids are doing at school or even your aged parents who may need constant care can all lead to stress.

One of the main alarm calls is the occurrence of a headache, unusual muscle pain and even a ringing in the ears. These may not directly affect your TMJ but may lead on to other reactions to the stress, such as teeth clenching and grinding. These are repetitive motions that can have a serious affect on your TMJ over time.

So stressed that you grind and clench your teeth?

Worrying about a job or money in particular can cause your body to react in certain ways, such as clenching and grinding your teeth. Clenching teeth is quite common, while grinding is less common. An abnormal bite, which is something that can result from a failure of your teeth to fit together properly, could also cause grinding.

These activities, especially teeth grinding, take place at night while asleep and you may not be aware that you are doing them. You may certainly know when you wake up if you have an aching jaw and find it difficult to eat your food at breakfast time because of the pain encountered. Even laughing, smiling and yawning may become painful as the teeth grinding wears on day after day.

If you don’t try to find a solution to your jaw pain you may cause your jaw to become misaligned. Until the teeth grinding and clenching has stopped, there will be little you can do about it as it may have become habitual.

De-stress with neuromuscular dentistry techniques

image-stress-tmj-techniquesThere are various methods used which help to stop teeth grinding. Occlusal guards, sometimes known as bite splints, occlusal splints, bite or night guards are orthotic devices which are customized and are aimed at preventing patients from grinding and clenching their teeth while asleep and help to alleviate the pain, discomfort and damage to the teeth. The mouth guards can be removed and are specially designed and molded so that they fit the upper or lower arches of teeth.

You will get used to the presence of an orthotic device and it is unlikely anyone will be aware that you have one in your mouth. Before one is fitted your neuromuscular dentist will use muscle relaxation techniques which may involve the use of a non invasive electrical stimulator.

Once the muscle in your jaw has relaxed the best place for the orthotic device will be determined so that the piece of plastic can be made to fit in the right place to stop any further stress on the TMJ.

Find a neuromuscular dentist near you

The most useful thing about muscular disorders in the face and problems with your TMJ is that there is always an experienced neuromuscular surgeon nearby.

We can help you to locate one who is an ICCMO member and trained in neuromuscular dentistry. This is the way to go if you want to see the back of your neuromuscular problems.

Find a TMJ Dentist in your area


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