Holiday stress may lead to TMJ


The holidays can be stressful! Stress and teeth grinding are common causes of TMJ disorder.

Temporomandibular joints, called TMJ, are the joints and jaw muscles that make it possible to open and close your mouth. Located on each side of the head, your TMJ work together when you chew, speak or swallow and include muscles and ligaments as well as the jaw bone. They also control the lower jaw (mandible) as it moves forward, backward and side to side. Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working properly may result in TMJ disorder.

Diagnosis is an important step before treatment. Part of the dental examination includes checking the joints and muscles for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty moving. Romano Dental recommends:

• eating softer foods• avoiding chewing gum and biting your nails
• modifying the pain with heat packs
• practicing relaxation techniques to control jaw tension, such as meditation or biofeedback.

If necessary for your symptoms, the following treatments may be advised:

• exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles
• medications prescribed by Romano Dental i.e. muscle relaxants, analgesics, anti-anxiety drugs or anti-inflammatories
• night guard or bite plate to decrease clenching or grinding of teeth.

In some cases, Romano Dental may recommend fixing an uneven bite by adjusting or reshaping some teeth. Orthodontic treatment may also be recommended. Romano Dental can suggest the most appropriate therapy based on the suspected cause.

If you are experiencing jaw pain and would like to be evaluated, call Romano Dental (203) 372-0881 or click here