Call Us: 617.738.4746

Welcome to our health education library. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

Helping Your Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) HealC³mo facilitar la recuperaci³n de la articulaci³n temporomandibular (ATM)

Helping Your Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Heal

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a ball-and-socket joint located where the upper and lower jaws meet. When the TMJ and related muscles are injured, they need time to heal. Self-care is very important. You can take steps to reduce pressure on the TMJ and speed healing.

Eating with Care

Chewing strains the TMJ. When symptoms are bad, you may not be able to chew at all. To get you through times when your symptoms are worst, try these tips:

  • Choose soft foods such as scrambled eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, quiche, tofu, soup, smoothies, pasta, fish, mashed potatoes, milkshakes, bananas, applesauce, gelatin, or ice cream.

  • Avoid biting into hard foods such as whole apples, carrots, and corn on the cob. Instead, cut foods into bite-sized pieces.

  • Grind or finely chop meats and other tough foods. Try hamburger meat instead of steak.

Using Ice and Heat

Your healthcare provider may suggest using ice and heat. Ice helps reduce swelling and pain. Heat helps relax muscles, increasing blood flow.

  • Use a gel pack or ice wrapped in a towel for severe pain. Apply for 10-20 minutes or until the site becomes numb. Repeat as needed.

  • Use moist heat for mild to moderate muscle pain. Apply a moist, warm towel to the muscles for 10-20 minutes. Repeat as needed.

Avoiding Triggers

Certain activities (called triggers) strain the TMJ, making symptoms worse. The tips below can help you avoid common triggers and limit strain.

  • Avoid hard or chewy foods, such as nuts, pretzels, popcorn, chips, gum, caramel, gummy candies, carrots, whole apples, hard breads, and even ice.

  • Reschedule routine dental visits, such as cleanings, if your jaw aches. If you have severe pain, call your healthcare provider.

  • Support your jaw when yawning. When you feel a yawn coming on, put a fist under your jaw. Apply gentle pressure. This helps prevent wide, painful yawns.

  • Avoid any activity that hurts, such as nail biting, yelling, and singing.

Maintaining Good Posture

Work at improving your posture during the day and when you sleep. Good posture can help your body heal. Try these tips:

  • Use a headset when on the telephone. Don't cradle the phone with your shoulder.

  • Keep ergonomics in mind. This includes making sure your workstation fits your body. Support your lower back. Take frequent breaks to stretch and rest. If you use a computer, keep the monitor at eye level.

  • Keep your head in a neutral position, with your ears in line with your shoulders. Don't slouch or crane your head forward.

  • Use an orthopaedic pillow to support your head and neck during sleep.

Date Last Reviewed:

Date Last Modified:

Our Services

Early Interceptive

Early interceptive orthodontic care is actually preventive care. Our intention is to prevent crooked teeth and a bad bite from developing.

img_5

Teen Orthodontics

Orthodontic teeth straightening technology has improved dramatically in recent years and you don’t have to wear unattractive metal braces in order to straighten your smile.

img_6

Adult Orthodontics

Even if you are in your 50s, 60s or older, it’s not too late to straighten your teeth and give yourself the smile you’ve always dreamed about.

img_7

Damon®Smile

In many cases, Damon®Smile braces reduce both total treatment time and the number of adjustments and office visits needed.

Invisalign/Invisalign Teen

Invisalign uses clear aligners that fit snugly over teeth and slowly move the teeth into their correct positions, just like braces.