Are you newly diagnosed as living with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD)? If so, you’ve probably had a lot of information thrown at you all at once – information about triggers for your condition, how to reduce symptoms, what medications to take, maybe even the best way to sleep and the foods you should eat (or avoid). But, what about the information on how to take care of your teeth while living with TMD?
Should You Change Hygiene Habits?
In short, the answer is no. We still recommend that you brush at least twice per day and floss at least once per day as usual, but you may just have to perform these tasks a little differently.
This is because living with TMD can make opening and closing your mouth painful, and in some cases, downright impossible. But you still have to take care of your teeth.
If you cannot accommodate a regular toothbrush, try a smaller brush to get the job done. Does the thought of holding your mouth open to floss make you cringe and your TMJs twinge? If so, try floss picks or an interdental pick brush used for cleaning braces to remove food debris and plaque from between your teeth. Water flossers can also help keep your teeth healthy.
Another tip: If your jaw is still too stiff to open, applying a warm compress for 20 minutes or so before you try to brush can help loosen up the joint. Another way to help relax the jaw joint is to try showering first, and while you’re in the shower, let the hot water loosen your jaw muscles. You can also try brushing in the shower to kill two birds with one stone.
See the Dentist
While you’re undergoing treatment for your TMD, we still suggest that you see your regular dentist for oral exams and cleanings. TMD or no TMD, these exams give your dentist a chance to look at your teeth to make sure they are healthy. During dental exams, the rest of the tissues in your mouth are also examined to make sure everything looks good.
Are you living with TMD? Dr. Ron Konig can help! Give us a call today at 713-668-2289 to discuss TMD treatment options.