Bruce M. MacNicol, DDS, MS, FRCD (C)
Michael T. Jackson, BA, DDS, MSc, FRCD (C)
Andrew P. Gater, DDS, HBSc, FRCD (C)
Mohammad Mokhtari, DDS, HBSc, FRCD (C)
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How Ice Can Make Your TMJ Pain Worse


Posted on 1/27/2017 by administrative
A woman suffering from TMJ chewing on a ice cube.
Pain in your jaw that is hard to relieve with traditional pain relievers, or gets worse, depending upon what you're doing can be the result of temporomandibular disorder (TMD). TMD has many causes, and can be difficult to treat until the exact cause is found and addressed. There are things that you may be doing, however, that can aggravate symptoms, and this includes chewing ice.

What is the Temporomandibular Joint?

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the hinge that connects your upper and lower jaws. It is responsible for the opening and closing of your mouth as well as your lower jaw's ability to move side to side. It allows you to eat and speak properly. Pain in this joint, as well as the jaw, is known as TMD.

Symptoms
Symptoms of TMD include:

•  Facial pain.
•  Pain while chewing, or simply opening and closing your mouth.
•  Clicking/popping while chewing.
•  Your jaw locks open or closed.
•  Difficulty opening your mouth.
•  Headaches and/or earaches.

What Causes TMD?

TMD can be caused by any one, or more, of several factors:

•  Facial trauma.
•  Osteoarthritis.
•  Bruxism.
•  Excessive chewing.
•  Misaligned jaw.
•  Poor posture.

When the cause of TMD is pinpointed and taken care of, this can greatly relieve your symptoms. However, even if you are treating your TMD, the problem may still exist, and doing certain things, such as chewing ice, can bring about the symptoms once again.

How Does Chewing Ice Affect TMD?

Ice is an extremely hard substance. Chewing on it requires extra force when you bite down. It also requires a lot of chewing to break it down small enough to swallow safely. The pressure from chewing puts added stress on your jaw, which can lead to inflammation of the TMJ, as does the unnecessary chewing. Over time, the added wear on your jaw can lead to severe pain, even if you have previously treated other causes of TMJ pain.

Avoiding chewing ice can help to alleviate TMJ pain. But if your pain persists, be sure to contact our office right away to schedule an appointment.

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