Is Your Mask Affecting Your TMD Symptoms?
Over the past year, we have had to change the way we go about our day to day lives. Running a quick errand now has additional tasks that involve using hand sanitizer and wearing a mask. A few years ago, many of us would never have believed that we would not only have to wear a mask wherever we went, but that many of us would have a favorite mask or collection of masks. At this point in our pandemic journey, we have all heard about the effects of wearing masks and have heard stories of those who are experiencing “maskne”, or facial acne caused by wearing a mask. Did you know that those who are affected by TMD are also experiencing an increase in discomfort in their jaw? In fact, it may have happened to you and you might not have realized the cause of your discomfort.
Why Does a Mask Cause Discomfort?
When running into a store, you more than likely don’t experience any discomfort from wearing a mask, but when working for hours and a mask is required, it can get uncomfortable after some time. If you find that you are experiencing jaw discomfort, it could be caused by a mask that is too tight and causing pressure on the area. You might be tensing your jaw while wearing the mask to hold it in place, or you might be experiencing added stress. After hours of wearing a mask, it would be uncomfortable for anyone, but especially for someone who already suffers from TMD.
What Can Be Done?
We are looking forward to the day that we won’t need to wear masks any longer, but until that time arrives, we want to offer some helpful tips to ensure your comfort:
- Wear a proper fitting mask that is not too tight or too large
- Be mindful that your jaw is in a resting position and not tense
- Sit straight and be careful not to lean forward putting pressure on the jaw
- Breathe through the nose as much as possible to keep the jaw relaxed
If you are dealing with a flare up of your TMD due to wearing a mask, or if you have questions about your treatment please contact our office located in Auburn & Silverdale, WA, and we will be happy to answer any questions you might have.