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New NIH Funding Opportunity on the Biology of the Temporomandibular Joint

New NIH funding opportunity announcements (FOA) on the Biology of the Temporomandibular Joint in Health and Disease (R01/R21). The intent of these FOAs is to support research that will provide a better understanding of total joint structure and mechanics

Let’s hear it for Mindfulness Meditation!

The National Institutes of Health re-established a cross-institute Pain Consortium about a decade ago to increase pain research and promote inter-institute collaboration. The consortium holds annual symposia and invites young investigators to submit post

Is Botox Safe and Effective for TMD?

As TMJ patients search for alternative treatments to manage their pain, a doctor may have suggested the possibility of trying Botox injections directly into the chewing (masseter and temporalis) muscles to relax these muscles.

Seventh Scientific Meeting of The TMJ Association

The Seventh Scientific Meeting of The TMJ Association - Genetic and Epigenetic Basis of Temporomandibular Disorders and Related Chronic Overlapping Conditions Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, Bethesda, MD, September 7-9, 2014

Social Security Disability Benefits and Temporomandibular Disorders

Those who suffer from Temporomandibular Disorders also referred to as TMJ or TMD, may find it impossible to maintain the responsibilities associated with full-time work activity. Some of the symptoms associated with Temporomandibular Disorder, such as vertigo, light sensitivity, and severe pain in the neck, head, and ears, can make it impossible to earn an income. The resulting lack of income can lead to significant financial stress. Fortunately, in some cases, Social Security Disability benefits can help alleviate some of the financial strain associated with this condition.

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.