Problems opening and closing your mouth (temporomandibular dysfunction)

Here we will offer some general advice to help treat this pathology. Read it carefully, as improving your symptoms will depend significantly on your collaboration.

It is very important to rest the temporomandibular joint as well as the associated structures (muscles, spine, etc.) and the body in general.

A. Local rest

  1. Avoid opening your mouth too much: ndo not bite into food with your teeth (sandwiches, apples, etc.). Instead you must cut it into small pieces. Control yawning with your hand or by lowering your chin onto your chest; avoid long appointments with the dentist, nose and throat explorations, intubation for anaesthesia, and in general any type of manoeuvre that requires forcing your mouth open for any long period of time.
  2. Do not grind or clench your teeth. Relax your jaw, keeping your lips together and teeth apart.
  3. Talk as little as possible.
  4. Eliminate habits such as biting your nails, chewing your cheeks or lips, biting pens or other objects
  5. Do not chew chewing gum, soft sweets, nuts, raw vegetables or any other type of food that requires chewing for long periods.
  6. Eat a semi-soft diet: pasta, cooked vegetables, eggs, soups, etc
  7. Use heat and cold:
    • Cold for recent injuries and worsening of previous injuries
    • Damp heat (warm cloths) on chronic injuries

B. General rest

  1. Adopt a correct posture during the day: a straight back, with your shoulders back.
  2. Avoid holding the phone with your shoulder, or use specially designed devices for this purpose.
  3. It is advisable to carry out some sort of gentle physical exercise que mantenga el tono muscular general. to maintain general muscle tone. Swimming is ideal, especially backstroke and breastroke. Energetic activities such as aerobics that force the spine are not advisable. You should complete any physical exercise 4 to 6 hours before going to bed.
  4. Improve the amount you sleep and the quality of your sleep
    • Do not drink coffee, cola drinks or alcohol before going to bed. Although alcohol can help you get to sleep, it tends to fragment it in the second half of the night.
    • Stop smoking. If it is not possible, at least try to not smoke after 7.00 p.m.
    • Do not drink or eat large amounts for at least 3 hours before going to bed. However, eating a small amount prior to going to bed may be useful.
    • Keep your bedroom dark, quiet, well ventilated, and at a comfortable temperature throughout the night.
    • Avoid sleeping in places that are not familiar.
    • Make sure your mattress is not too soft or too hard. Your pillow should have the correct height and texture.
    • Avoid afternoon naps if you have difficulty going to sleep at night.
    • Do not stay in bed longer than is necessary to sleep. Remember that staying too long in bed can reduce the quality of your sleep on successive nights.
    • Create a ritual for going to bed. Reading before turning off the light can be useful, providing you read literature and not material connected with your work.
    • The occasional use of sleeping pills is not a problem.
    • It may help to have a warm bath for 30 minutes two hours before going to bed, so that your body temperature is raised by approximately 2 degrees. Also, a warm drink may help you to relax as it will slightly raise your body temperature.
    • If you are worried at night, write down a list of problems with a sentence stating the first things you will do to solve them the next day.
    • If you wake up during the night, do not look at the time, or smoke to relax.
    • If you cannot sleep, do not try and force yourself to sleep. Instead, think about pleasant, relaxing things.
    • Get up every day of the week at the same time.