- Ice and Heat
It’s true what they say, rotating between both ice and heat can help your jaw relax while lowering inflammation all at the same time. When icing, make sure that you’re using either something that can conform to your face like frozen peas or something soft like a medical gel ice pack. When using heat, either a hot water bottle or a heat bag made of either beans or rice are your best option. Make sure that the heat is strong enough that it makes your face feel warm, but cool enough not to leave you with any sort of burn. Rotate with ten minutes on and ten minutes off with each ice and heat tool.
- Avoid Hard Foods
Although that steak sandwich might be calling your name, staying away from tough food like steak and apples during a TMJ flare-up will help your mouth to heal quickly. Although you don’t have to be on a soft food diet consisting of soup and mashed potatoes, you should try to avoid hard-to-chew foods and instead focus on softer meats and foods that don’t require much jaw strain.
- Pain Reliever
Taking an over-the-counter pain reliever and anti-inflammatory like Tylenol or Ibuprofen will help your jaw to heal and feel better more quickly. Simply make sure you consult your doctor as to what dosage they recommend during a severe flare-up— that way you can start to feel more comfortable at an accelerated rate.
- Jaw Exercises
It might sound like the last thing you want to do when you’re having a TMJ flare-up, but jaw exercises will help to loosen your jaw and help you to relax— leaving you feeling a whole lot more comfortable. Simply move your jaw slowly from side-to-side, focusing on any areas that may pop when you do so. Then, try to open and close your mouth widely and slowly. Repeat these jaw exercises 5-7 times. If you are experiencing severe pain when attempting these exercises, stop immediately and call your dentist.
From icing and heating to actively participating in jaw exercises, these four tips will help your TMJ to hopefully not be as inflamed or irritating.
To learn more about TMJ, contact our office today!