If you are affected by temporomandibular joint disease, or TMD, you may struggle with near constant pain or discomfort in and around your jaw. Sometimes this pain can make everyday tasks like eating or brushing your teeth challenging.
But keeping up oral hygiene is very important. Becoming lax with brushing and flossing may lead to other dental problems that cause discomfort and require extensive treatment.
Dr. Ivan Stein, a TMJ specialist in New Jersey, reveals his best tips for maintaining good oral hygiene with TMD in the post below.
Brush Slowly and Softly
Brushing the teeth, especially the teeth toward the back of the mouth, may be difficult if you experience pain when opening your mouth, or if you have limited jaw movement. First, try to relax as you prepare to brush and, as best you can, avoid tensing your muscles. Using a toothbrush with soft bristles, brush slowly and gently. There’s no rush, so take your time. Avoid electric toothbrushes or brushes with large heads.
Try a Dental Floss Wand or Irrigator
Another oral hygiene challenge with TMD is opening the mouth wide enough to use traditional dental floss in between the teeth. You might want to try looking for dental floss wands that have long handles; these are good for reaching into all areas of your mouth and removing food particles and debris stuck between the teeth.
If you still have discomfort and problems using a floss wand, try an oral irrigator (water flosser). These devices emit a small stream of water through a narrow wand to irrigate in between the teeth and along the gumline. You don’t have to open your mouth very wide to use the irrigator.
Don’t Avoid Dental Check-Ups
Dr. Stein understands that keeping your mouth open for prolonged periods of time to have your teeth professionally cleaned and examined can be painful. It may be tempting to put off or even avoid these appointments. But it is imperative not to skip these visits.
Remind your dentist that you have TMJ problems so they are aware of possible pain or discomfort. You might want to ask about sedation options during your teeth cleaning and exam, as the medication may relax your jaw muscles. After your appointment, you can apply a heating pad or cold compress to your face to soothe sore or tense muscles.
Contact Headache and TMJ Center of New Jersey
For more information about maintaining your oral hygiene in the face of TMD pain, Dr. Stein is here to help. Please call the Headache & TMJ Center of New Jersey at (855) TMJ-DOCS or (855) 865-3627, or email us today to make an appointment with the doctor.