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Wearing a Mask Could Worsen Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction Symptoms

If you’re like many people, wearing a mask or face covering has become just another thing we do each day. Love it or hate it, wearing a mask is required in many communities and businesses, but it can be harder for some people than others. That’s because sometimes wearing a mask can worsen the symptoms of some oral conditions, such as temporomandibular joint dysfunction. Temporomandibular joint dysfunction is a condition of the jaw wherein the sufferer’s temporomandibular (or TMJ) joint is not properly aligned with the jaw. This causes the jaw to pop in and out of the TMJ joint, causing pain, popping and clicking, and jaw stiffness. In some cases it can even cause poor posture, tinnitus, and neck and back pain.

But TMJ dysfunction pain doesn’t have to make wearing a mask miserable. Here are a few tips for wearing your mask comfortably with TMJ dysfunction.

Get The Right Fit

If you are struggling to get your mask to stay in place because it’s too big or too small, you may be contorting your jaw in ways you may not realize, or clenching it to keep your mask still. This in turn will worsen TMJ dysfunction symptoms, causing pain and stiffness. If you can, find a mask that is the correct size for your face. You can even have one custom made or make one yourself using your exact dimensions.

Don’t Eat or Chew Gum

If you are wearing your mask, it’s important for your mouth and nose to stay covered, so chewing on food or gum could be a bad idea, especially if it causes your mask to shift as you chew. You may chew differently to compensate for this shifting, so save the food for when you’re mask free.

Make Sure Your Posture is Correct

Bad posture can cause you to jut your chin out too far or stand awkwardly, putting pressure on your head and neck. That pressure can stress the TMJ joint and make your TMJ dysfunction symptoms worse. If you find yourself feeling achy in your mask, make sure you are standing properly with your head in its normal resting position.

If wearing your mask is causing TMJ pain, try these tips and see if they make a difference. If not, speak to Dr. Peterson about your symptoms. You can reach the office by calling 435-565-6503.

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Posted in: Dental Health, Dental News, General Dentistry, Headache Treatment, TMJ Treatment

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