Temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ or TMDD, is difficult to go through, even when you're not visiting a dentist. But during dental visits, it poses some unique challenges. For example, people with TMJ tend to have their jaws lock when held in one position for too long, which can make it very hard to have your teeth cleaned. However, it doesn't need to be a nightmare to visit with a dentist. Here's how you can make your next visit much more pleasant.
Talk to Your Dentist
First things first: explain to your dentist that you have TMJ. You're likely neither the first nor the last person they'll see with TMJ, but most of the time temporomandibular joint disorder is essentially invisible to the naked eye. Your dentist won't know that you have this condition unless you talk to them about it first.
Once you've talked to them, your dentist will take some steps to make the process easier on you, like blocking off more time on their schedule so you can have a longer appointment and giving you small breaks so you can relax your jaw. This should help to make all the difference in your next appointment.
Take Pain Relievers
In addition, there are some things you can do just prior to your appointment that will help. For example, taking an over-the-counter pain reliever.
Pain relievers can help to reduce discomfort one might experience during a dental cleaning with TMJ, but they can also help to reduce inflammation. This may help to completely stop the pain before it ever starts, ensuring that you have a pleasant dentist visit.
Lastly, don't forget about the benefits of self-massage. Gently rub your temporomandibular joints and the surrounding area leading up to the appointment. Roll your neck from side to side. Shrug your shoulders. These activities will help to loosen up the muscles directly and indirectly responsible for controlling the temporomandibular joints, which should help to keep your jaw loose and comfortable during the cleaning.
Whether you need a simple dental cleaning or a more intensive procedure, this guide will help you to get the care that you need without discomfort. It's the most important to talk to your dentist, so make sure to maintain an open line of communication during your treatment, as well. If you're uncomfortable or need a moment to rest your jaw, speak up and your dentist will listen.
If you are in need of a teeth cleaning or any other dental services, visit a dental practice in your area.