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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Is temporomandibular joint disorder preventable?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1

    Agree

    2

    Thanks

    Dr Paul Coceancig

    Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeon

    I am a specialist oral & maxillofacial surgeon based in Sydney and Newcastle, Australia. I graduated in medicine from the University of Otago, and in ... View Profile

    Preventing jaw joint disease is rather logical.

    First of all, the bite has a serious influence on jaw joint health, and jaw joint motion (through chewing). Having a perfect bite, with perfectly inter-digitating teeth, means your jaw joints can function and glide normally, wihtout having to compensate for the effects of a bad-bite.

    Secondly, the important rule is not to overuse your jaw joints. Jogging 40km a day, on a hard road surface can lead to osteo-arthritis of the lower lumbar vertebrae, ilio-sacral joints, and of course the knees, hips and ankles.

    Likewise, overuse of jaw joints, can lead to changes we call osteo-arthritis.

    The third prevention is the easiest. Choose your parenst wisely, as genetics also plays a big part to play in how long all our joints last, and their vulnerability towards disease.

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  • 1

    Agree

    The exact cause of TMD is unknown but some research indicates that TMD can be prevented under some circumstances. Simple steps to help prevent TMD include:� Do not grind your teeth � Grinding your teeth places undue stress on your jaw joint and has been linked to TMD
    � Reduce stress � Stress can cause an involuntary flexion of the muscles in your jaw. Like grinding your teeth, this places pressure on your jaw joint and may be a contributing factor to TMD
    � Visit your doctor to catch early signs of arthritis � Arthritis can cause a deterioration of your jaw joint and eventually lead to TMD
    � Visit your dentist twice a year for examinations and cleanings � Not only do these visits help keep your teeth and gums healthy, they can provide your dentist with indications of TMD before the condition becomes severe
    Of course, not all instances of TMD can be prevented. TMD has also been linked to traumatic injury and may be sustained in high impact sports and motor vehicle accidents. With sports, the use of a customized mouth guard may lower your risk of TMD, but trauma to the jaw is not always avoidable.If you play sports, make sure you visit your dentist for a custom created mouth guard. These will help reduce impact to your joint while you are on the field.While TMD is not always avoidable, it is easily treated with several noninvasive options. If you are suffering from any of the symptoms of TMD, visit your dentist to see what options are available to you.

  • Kerry Read

    Physiotherapist

    Headline Physiotherapy for the Head Neck and Jaw deals specifically with TMJ Facial Pain Headache Migraine and other musculoskeletal issues involving the cranial area. All ... View Profile

    Just like any of the joints in your body there are conditions you can control and some you can't. Looking after your teeth is the first step, and protecting your jaw from obvious injury. Reducing stress and awareness of any clenching and grinding habits is very useful. However there can be hidden dangers in seemingly innocuous activities like; chronic nail-biting, crunching ice, opening things with your teeth, chewing gum and biting off threads and fishing line. Singers and musicians are well advised to have a stretch and exercise regime for the jaw, for prevention, post performance recovery and enhanced technique. Also beware the ‘party trick’ temptation of jamming a whole fist in your mouth or other such stunning feats. Those who are naturally flexible can be particularly skilled in this area but can end up with a very sore and sometimes locked jaw!

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