TMJ–More Than Just a Pain in Your Jaw

We are specialists in the diagnosis and treatment of TMJ disorders. But what exactly does that mean and how can it affect me?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is a small joint located in front of the ear where the skull and lower jaw meet. It permits the lower jaw to move and allows for movement, such as talking, chewing, and yawning. Temporomandibular joint and muscle disorders, are a group of conditions that cause pain and dysfunction in the jaw joint and the muscles that control jaw movement. There is no clear cause for TMJ problems, and it is not clear how many people suffer from TMJ disorders, but some estimates suggest that over 10 million Americans are affected.

TMJ can last a long time, and symptoms can come and go. They may get worse when you are under stress. But that doesn’t mean you will always be in pain. Learning what triggers your jaw pain can help you keep your pain and discomfort under control.

When you have TMJ, you may find your eating patterns are shifted dramatically. This can be difficult to deal with, causing some negative health effects:

Weight Gain
If you have jaw pain, it is understandable that you might decide to primarily eat soft foods that are easy to eat. However, many soft foods are processed foods are full of salt, fat, and sugar; making it surprisingly easy to pack on the pounds. If you need soft foods while you are dealing with TMJ, make healthy food choices foods like yogurt, scrambled eggs, or homemade smoothies. Learn recipes that you can prepare at home so that you can control what goes into them.

Weight Loss
Many people with TMJ experience weight loss. Eating becomes too difficult and painful, so they just stop eating or eat too little. Although weight loss might seem a benefit at first, it can quickly become dangerously unhealthy. If you’re not able to eat much, try to make it calorie-intensive. Healthy fats and proteins can quickly increase your caloric intake.

Those suffering with TMJ often cut out fresh fruits and vegetables because they are crunchy and hard to eat. However, fresh fruits and vegetables are often most people’s primary source of dietary fiber; and a diet low in fiber can lead to constipation. Soluble fiber supplements can help to keep your digestive system in shape, and consider adding fruit nectars that have fiber as well as juice.

Nutrient Deficiencies
In addition to being a source of dietary fiber, fresh fruits and vegetables are also most people’s source of essential vitamins and minerals. If you are substituting solid food with smoothies and juices, you might get a lot of the vitamins and minerals you need, but you might still fall short. Consider taking a multivitamin. If you are having difficulty swallowing multivitamins (some are quite large), consider adding powdered multivitamin to your drinks.

As noted above, McGann Facial Design are specialists in jaw disorders, including TMJ. If you have questions about TMJ disorders, you are not alone. Are you tired of living with TMJ or have questions about TMJ disorder and treatment options? Call us at (858)874-8181 or contact us online for an appointment.

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