Have you been diagnosed with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), or do you think you have the condition? One thing you may want to think about is how you should care for your teeth. Should your routine change? Should you do something extra? How often should you visit Legends Dental for a checkup? Here's what you need to know about living with TMD and caring for your teeth.
Take Care of Your Teeth
The bottom line for everyone - with TMD or without - is you need to take care of your teeth. We (and the American Dental Association) recommend that you brush at least twice per day and floss at least once per day. These steps can help reduce the bacteria-filled sticky plaque that covers the teeth and causes cavities - which wouldn't be much fun on top of TMD.
We know that sometimes having TMD can make opening and closing your mouth painful or difficult, which can make you not want to brush or floss. But taking care of your teeth is critical.
To work around your condition, you may need to switch to a smaller toothbrush or use floss picks or water flossers to make the job easier.
If you're experiencing a stiff or locked jaw that doesn't want to open, we suggest warming the temporomandibular joint up with a warm compress for about 20 minutes before trying to brush.
You may also want to shower before brushing, letting the hot water hit your jaw muscles. You can also let warm water run inside your mouth to help loosen up your jaw. You can even brush in the shower!
Don't Skip Checkups
Even if you're undergoing treatment for TMD, you shouldn't skip your regular exams or cleanings. These appointments are critical in making sure your teeth, gums and other structures of your mouth are healthy. We can screen you for oral disease, gum health concerns and other health conditions such as sleep apnea on top of cleaning your teeth and treating your jaw condition.
A Chance to Chat
Seeing us regularly also gives us a chance to talk about your concerns regarding TMD and the symptoms you may be having. Some common symptoms of TMD may not seem likely to be caused by jaw problems; these include ear pain; head, neck and back pain; and ringing in the ears. If you're experiencing these symptoms, we want to know!
Want to learn more? Call Legends Dental at 254-242-0499 to schedule your appointment today.