TMJ Dentistry |3 min read

Things That Make TMJ Worse: Understanding the Factors and Finding Relief

A male holds his head to ease the pain in his jaw

Are you tired of the pain and discomfort caused by TMJ?

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder has various causes that can significantly impact your daily life. The temporomandibular joint is a hinge joint that connects the jawbone to the skull.

It plays a crucial role in the proper functioning of the jaw and the overall health of the oral and facial region.

But here’s the question: What makes TMJ worse? 

This comprehensive guide unravels the factors exacerbating TMJ symptoms and unveils effective strategies for finding relief.

Dr. Santucci, a TMJ specialist in Orinda, CA, welcomes patients with TMJ symptoms.

Whether you’re seeking ways to manage your TMJ or are simply curious about this condition, get ready for valuable insights and actionable tips to reclaim comfort and well-being.

Things that make TMJ worse: exploring the factors

Stress: The silent culprit.

Stress amplifies TMJ symptoms. Jaw clenching and teeth grinding strain the temporomandibular joint, worsening the condition.

These habits can also cause headaches and facial pain. To alleviate TMJ, practice stress reduction techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and exercise.

Take control of stress to find relief from TMJ discomfort.

Poor posture: A hidden trigger.

Slouching or maintaining an improper alignment of the head, neck, and spine can place unnecessary stress on the jaw joint.

This strain can aggravate TMJ pain, limit jaw movement, and hinder healing.

Practicing good posture and proper spinal alignment can help reduce the strain on your temporomandibular joint and alleviate TMJ symptoms.

Excessive chewing: A common culprit.

Excessive chewing, particularly when consuming tough foods, can significantly worsen TMJ symptoms.

The repetitive motion of chewing places strain on the jaw joint, leading to increased pain, discomfort, and limited jaw mobility.

Additionally, taking smaller bites and chewing slowly can help alleviate the strain on the temporomandibular joint.

Teeth grinding and clenching: The nighttime agony.

Bruxism, the habit of clenching and grinding teeth during sleep, increases pressure on the jaw joint, leading to discomfort.

It can also cause tooth damage and facial pain.

If you suspect bruxism, consult your dentist for a custom mouthguard to protect your teeth and alleviate TMJ strain.

Jaw overuse: Beware of overexertion.

Activities like singing, chewing gum, or playing wind instruments strain the muscles and ligaments, causing increased pain.

Be mindful of overusing the jaw joint if you have TMJ.

Take breaks, use proper technique, and do jaw relaxation exercises to minimize the impact on symptoms.

Inadequate sleep: A vicious cycle.

Lack of proper rest can increase stress levels, exacerbate pain, and hinder the body’s natural healing process.

When we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies cannot recover effectively, leading to heightened sensitivity to pain and prolonged TMJ symptoms.

To improve sleep quality and reduce the impact on TMJ, establish a consistent sleep routine, create a relaxing sleep environment, and consider techniques such as meditation or white noise to promote better sleep.

Dental issues: A contributing factor.

Conditions like malocclusion and untreated dental problems can create imbalances in the jaw joint, increasing strain and discomfort.

Discover the importance of regular dental checkups and how addressing these issues can bring relief and improve TMJ management.


Understanding the factors that can worsen TMJ is essential for effectively managing this condition.

Stress, poor posture, excessive chewing, teeth grinding, jaw overuse, inadequate sleep, underlying dental issues, and certain foods can all worsen TMJ symptoms.

By implementing strategies to reduce stress, practicing good posture, avoiding excessive jaw movement, addressing dental issues, and making lifestyle adjustments, individuals with TMJ can find relief and improve their quality of life.

By working closely with Dr. Santucci and incorporating self-care practices, individuals can take control of their TMJ symptoms and regain comfort and functionality.

Don’t let TMJ symptoms hold you back, and take control by calling Dr. Santucci today! 

Schedule Your Visit



Visit Jess Santucci DDS  in Orinda, serving the surrounding communities of Lafayette, Moraga, Walnut Creek, Alamo, Danville, San Ramon, East Bay, San Francisco, and the SF Bay area.


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