Wondering what you can do at home to help with jaw pain? Here are a few things to try.
1. Wet a towel with very warm water and apply moist heat to the painful area for 20 minutes, 2 to 4 times each day.
2. Confine your diet to soft, nutritious foods, such as yogurt, eggs or soups. Do not chew gum or eat hard foods (such as raw carrots) or chewy foods (such as caramels, steak or bagels). Cut other food into small pieces and chew on both sides of your mouth to reduce the strain on one side.
3. Keep your teeth apart. When you're not chewing, your teeth should never touch (except occasionally when you swallow). Closely monitor your jaw position for signs of clenching. Try placing your tongue lightly on the top of your mouth behind your upper front teeth, allowing the teeth to come apart and relaxing the jaw muscles.
4. Good head, neck and back posture help you maintain good jaw posture. Try to hold your head up straight and use a small pillow or rolled towel to support your lower back. Avoid habits such as resting your jaw on your hand or cradling the telephone against your shoulder.
5. Avoid caffeine. Caffeine stimulates your muscles to contract and therefore become more tense.
6. Watch your habits. Avoid oral habits that put strain on your jaw muscles and joints. These include clenching or grinding your teeth, biting your cheeks or your lips, or chewing on foreign objects (pens, paper clips, etc).
7. Sleep smart. Avoid sleeping habits that strain your jaw muscles or joints. Don' t sleep on your stomach and if you sleep on your side, keep your neck and jaw aligned.
8. Don't open wide. Until the pain has been reduced, avoid activities that involve opening the jaw wide- yelling, prolonged dental treatments etc.
9. Use anti-inflammatory and pain reducing medications as recommended by the doctor.
And of course, don't hesitate to call our office for an evaluation of your jaw pain or to answer any questions you may have!