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Risk Factors for Chronic Facial Pains

The following article includes excerpts from a Missouri State University news article about the work of Dr. Paul Durham, who has participated in past TMJA scientific meetings.  We are happy to share with you the progress his lab is making. "

Announcing The TMJA's 8th Scientific Meeting

We are excited to announce our 8th scientific meeting, How Can Precision Medicine Be Applied to Temporomandibular Disorders and its Comorbidities?, to be held September 11 - 13, 2016 in Bethesda, MD. It will focus on Precision Medicine...

Help Give TMJ Patients a Voice

My name is Jennifer Feldman, and I have suffered from TMJ dysfunction since age ten when I was in a car accident. All of my memories are attached to my condition. I remember sitting in waiting rooms for endless hours forming friendships with other patients who shared my pain.

Postdoc Fellow or Junior Faculty Funding Opportunity: Request for Letters of Intent or Nominations

The TMJ Association was asked to post the following announcement regarding the University of Michigan's Temporomandibular Joint Disorders and Orofacial Pain Interdisciplinary Consortium (UM-TOPICs) Career Development Grant - NIH/NIDCR K12DE023574.

Need an All Titanium TMJ Implant?

Increasingly over the past several years patients with temporomandibular total joint implants have been telling us that they have become sensitive to a material, or materials in the implants. The most common material they're sensitive to is nickel.

HELP YOURSELF FIRST - REMEMBER LESS IS BEST!

  • Jun 22, 2014

Often jaw problems resolve on their own in several weeks to months. If you have recently experienced TMJ pain and/or dysfunction, you may find relief with some or all of the following therapies.

  • Moist Heat. Moist heat from a heat pack or a hot water bottle wrapped in a warm, moist towel can improve function and reduce pain. Be careful to avoid burning yourself when using heat.
  • Ice. Ice packs can decrease inflammation and also numb pain and promote healing. Do not place an ice pack directly on your skin. Keep the pack wrapped in a clean cloth while you are using it. Do not use an ice pack for more than 10 - 15 minutes.
  • Soft Diet. Soft or blended foods allow the jaw to rest temporarily. Remember to avoid hard, crunchy, and chewy foods. Do not stretch your mouth to accommodate such foods as corn on the cob, apples, or whole fruits.
  • Over the-Counter Analgesics. For many people with TMJ Disorders, short-term use of over-the-counter pain medicines or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), such as ibuprofen, may provide temporary relief from jaw discomfort. When necessary, your dentist or doctor can prescribe stronger pain or anti-inflammatory medications, muscle relaxants, or antidepressants to help ease symptoms.
  • Jaw Exercises. Slow, gentle jaw exercises may help increase jaw mobility and healing. Your health care provider or a physical therapist can evaluate your condition and suggest appropriate exercises based on your individual needs.  A recent study found therapeutic jaw exercises bring earlier recovery of jaw function compared to splints! Click here to read the specific jaw exercises used in this study.
  • Relaxation Techniques. Relaxation and guided imagery can be helpful in dealing with the pain that accompanies TMJ dysfunction. Deep, slow breathing enhances relaxation and modulates pain sensations. Some have found yoga, massage, and meditation helpful in reducing stress and aiding relaxation.
  • Side Sleeping. Sleep on your side using pillow support between shoulder and neck.
  • Relax Facial Muscles. Make a concerted effort to relax your lips, and keep teeth apart.
  • Yawning. Use your fist to support your chin as you yawn to prevent damage to the joint and prevent your jaw from locking open.

In addition, avoid:

  • Jaw clenching.
  • Gum chewing.
  • Cradling the telephone, which may irritate jaw and neck muscles.

Be sure to discuss your jaw limitations with your doctor prior to surgery or a long dental appointment so he/she uses extreme caution. Anesthesia, often used during dental procedures, can affect mouth opening and damage the joint. If possible, avoid long dental appointments requiring an open mouth for more than 30 minutes. For more information about this topic, please review our Dental Hygiene Brochure (.pdf).

Remember, if your TMJ problems get worse with time, you should seek professional advice. However, first and foremost, educate yourself. Informed patients are better able to talk with health care providers, ask questions, and make knowledgeable decisions. By seeking out the information on this website, you are on the road to being an informed patient and better able to help yourself.

We suggest you read through and print out our list of questions (.pdf) to ask your doctor prior to consenting to any treatment.