Did you know that your temporomandibular joint is one of the most complex joints in your body? It slides side to side as well as up and down, and it enables you to sing, talk, chew, and yawn. You might not think much about this joint … until it hurts. Known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, this condition affects your jaw joint and the surrounding muscles, causing pain, clicking or popping noises, and limited jaw movement.
Conventional TMJ treatments often focus on managing your symptoms through medication or invasive procedures. Here at Urbandale Smiles, our holistic view of dental care doesn’t stop at mercury-free fillings or routine cleanings. We apply the same concep to TMJ treatment as well.
Read on as we explore the various holistic techniques that can help relieve your TMJ symptoms effectively.
Holistic dentistry takes into account the interconnectedness of your oral health with your overall well-being. It emphasizes the use of natural and minimally invasive methods to promote oral health and treat dental issues.
As holistic dentists, Chia Wu, DMD, Jeremy Flinkman, DMD, and Jessica Sanborn, DDS strive to identify and address the underlying causes of dental conditions (including TMJ disorders), rather than simply managing your symptoms. When it comes to TMJ, a holistic approach aims to alleviate pain, restore proper jaw function, and enhance your overall health and well-being.
Specific techniques you can implement to improve your jaw health include:
It’s not always enough to just take pain medication to mask the symptoms of TMJ disorder. Sometimes, the root cause must be addressed, and for many people with jaw pain, the root cause might be a bad bite.
A misaligned bite (malocclusion) can contribute to TMJ symptoms. Our team performs a thorough bite analysis to assess the alignment and occlusion of your teeth and jaw. Based on our findings, you may benefit from orthodontic options like Invisalign clear aligners, which can correct many types of malocclusion, including open bite, crossbite, underbite, and overbite.
A vital aspect of holistic dentistry is understanding the impact of your diet on dental health. Our team may provide nutritional counseling to help identify and eliminate trigger foods that contribute to inflammation or worsen TMJ symptoms. Anti-inflammatory foods may be especially helpful if arthritis contributes to your TMJ pain.
We may recommend a soft diet rich in whole foods, healthy fats, and nutrient-dense fruits and vegetables to help when your jaw pain flares up. Proper nutrition supports your body’s natural healing processes and can help reduce inflammation and pain associated with TMJ.
Stress wreaks havoc on your body, including your jaw. Many people with chronic stress may clench their jaw. This is called bruxism, and it can contribute to TMJ symptoms by causing tension and muscle clenching in the jaw area. You may even grind your teeth.
Stress reduction techniques ー such as mindfulness, meditation, deep breathing exercises, yoga, biofeedback, exercises, and taking time for hobbies ー can help reduce bruxism. You may also benefit from wearing a nightguard at times to help with jaw clenching and teeth grinding.
Feeling tense? Your Urbandale Smiles provider can teach you specific jaw exercises and stretches to relax and strengthen the muscles surrounding your temporomandibular joint. These exercises help improve jaw mobility, reduce muscle tension, and enhance overall jaw function. These exercises should be performed regularly.
It doesn’t matter if your jaw has been sore for one day or 10, the truth is that TMJ pain can impact the quality of your life, affect your ability to eat nutritious meals, and simply enjoy life.
Holistic dentistry offers a comprehensive and natural approach to relieve your TMJ symptoms without simply masking your symptoms. By addressing the underlying causes of TMJ and utilizing techniques mentioned here, holistic dentistry can give you something to smile about.
To explore the benefits of holistic dentistry for TMJ disorders, call our Urbandale, Iowa, office at 515-276-7800 or click here to get started.