In all fairness, a trip to the dentist is sheer hell…for both the TMJD sufferer AND the dentist. Be happy he/she doesn’t charge you extra!
Because most TMJ Disorder suffers may not only have a limited mouth opening, but also may be unable to hold the mouth open for long periods of time, dental work can become traumatic for everyone involved.
More Frequent Cleanings
Despite the discomfort, it is extremely important that one continue to see a dentist on a regular basis. Since you are probably not able to floss your teeth as recommended (due to mouth positions) you may want to schedule cleanings every three or four months instead of every six. You will have less plaque if you have your teeth cleaned more regularly. This means that during the cleaning procedure you’ll have to hold your mouth open for less time. Be extra nice to your hygienist!
Water Pics are Helpful
Since you probably cannot floss regularly, if at all, I do recommend getting a water pic. These are supposedly not as effective as flossing, but it does get extra particles from between your teeth, and the process does not hurt your jaw. If nothing else, it will make you feel pro-active.
Rest, Ice and Pain Relief
Ask your dentist or hygienist to give you plenty of rest times during your dental procedures. If really needed, take an Advil or Aleve for the occasion. Ice your jaw after your appointment (make sure the Novocain is worn off before icing). Eat a liquid diet if needed for the rest of the day and maybe even the next day.
I don’t recommend using one of those blocks the dentist may offer you to rest your jaw on. Holding your mouth open for an extended time is going to cause havoc for you even if it’s being propped open.
Remember, most cases of TMJ Disorder will resolve given TIME and a SOFTER DIET. For helpful hints and pages of nutritious, delicious easy-to-cook, easy-to-chew recipes, see You Can Conquer TMJ: Ideas and Recipes.