The Connection between Mask-wearing and TMD

Mar 13, 2023

Wearing a mask is a key step in reducing the spread of COVID-19. Even while they are essential for maintaining public health, wearing them for a long time may cause headaches or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain to occur more frequently or last longer. Many TMJ specialists say that altering a face mask’s position with repeated jaw movements can increase the risk of TMD. Hence, it is crucial to understand the significance of selecting the correct mask size based on facial features.

What is Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)?

Temporomandibular disorders are conditions that affect the jaw muscles, temporomandibular joints, and facial nerves (TMD). It may be caused by any issue that hinders the intricate system of muscles, bones, and joints from working in harmony.

What is the Connection between Mask-wearing and TMD?

Numerous factors, including genetics, stress and anxiety, jaw injuries, and arthritis can cause TMJ Disorder. However, continual mask use can also cause pain to develop. While wearing a mask, our mouth naturally tends to be in a position where our lips compress together or our teeth clenches. It means our mouth becomes “tensed” in this position, which wears out the muscles in our jaw and face. In the end, you will experience immense discomfort.

Sometimes it’s not only about the mouth position, few masks fail to provide us with the comfort we require. The locations across the jaw joints and the face get almost immediately impacted when they pull down on your ear. As the impacted nerves move throughout your head, this kind of stress may cause headaches.

TMJ symptoms in many patients turn worse by wearing masks. The wearers tend to push their chin forward or clench their jaw to keep the mask in place. Additionally, some patients say that when they are short of breath or wearing masks that don’t fit well, they breathe more via their mouths, which puts additional strain on their masticator muscles.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of TMJ?

The most typical TMJ warning signs and symptoms are as follows:

  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw
  • Headaches
  • Back, shoulder, neck, or face pain that extends behind the eyes
  • Jaw popping or clicking
  • Jaw locking
  • Limited mouth movements
  • Clenching or grinding of teeth
  • Dizziness
  • Tooth sensitivity without an oral health condition present
  • Numbness or tingling in the fingers

Tips to Minimize Head or Jaw Pain

Let us discover a few tips to deal with jaw or headache:

Get a Well-fitting Mask

Your mask fit can help you avoid or lessen headaches or jaw pain. To prevent movement of your face, it should fit snugly across your nose. Thus, make sure your mask’s ear loops don’t pull or yank on your ears because doing so can lead to pain in and around the ears (including around the jaw joints). Try ear savers, extenders, or a mask that ties behind your head if the ear straps are too restrictive.

Maintain a Resting Jaw Position

Stay conscious of your jaw’s position throughout the TMJ/TMD Treatment in Anchorage, AK to reduce pain. Failing to do it might make your jaw tight, clenching teeth, or affect your lips. So, ensure your lips should softly touch, your teeth should not touch, and your tongue should rest on the roof of your mouth while your jaw is relaxed.

Be Mindful of Your Posture

Regularly check your posture to ensure you’re not overusing your jaw muscles by extending your chin or jaw forward. To correct your posture, sit or stand straight with your face straight ahead and ears over your shoulders. Also, ensure you stretch out the back of your neck as much as possible.

Breathe through Your Nose Instead of Your Mouth

Using your nose to breathe makes it easier for your jaw to maintain a relaxed resting position.

Hydrate Well

Remind yourself to stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. For this, make sure you create reminders for water breaks on your computer or Smartphone.

Get Help Today

There are risks even though their effectiveness in preventing disease is acknowledged. Getting Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorder is one of them. If you have any further inquiries about headaches or jaw pain due to wearing a mask or need other general dentistry services, contact the experts at the Anchorage Dental Arts office right away.