Since the beginning of the COVID-19 epidemic, health experts have urged us to practice social distancing, increase hand washing, and to wear masks. But for some people with temporomandibular joint dysfunction, wearing a mask can be uncomfortable or downright painful. Unfortunately, while not wearing a mask is not recommended or even an option in most places, there are ways that people suffering from temporomandibular joint dysfunction can make wearing a mask a lot more comfortable.
One of the most important things to remember when wearing your mask and dealing with temporomandibular joint dysfunction is to not do anything you wouldn’t do without the mask. So, for example, don’t chew gum while wearing your mask, even if your breath isn’t as fresh as you’d hoped. If that’s the case, try brushing your teeth before you know you’ll need to be masked up, or pop a small mint and don’t crunch it!
Another issue that may be causing pain while wearing your mask is how your mask fits. If you are moving your jaw in an awkward position in an effort to keep it on your face properly, you could be making your temporomandibular joint dysfunction jaw pain a lot worse. Another issue related to wearing an improperly fitting mask is your posture. You may be less likely to stand straight with your head and neck in proper alignment if your mask does not fit properly
To correct this issue, you should first find a mask that fits you properly. You may need to try a few sizes and manufacturers before you find one that fits comfortably, but the results will be well worth it when you do.
Remember, proper mask use means your mask must cover both your mouth and your nose, and should allow you to breathe and speak without the mask moving from your face.
If you follow these tips and still do not notice any relief from your temporomandibular joint dysfunction, speak to Dr. Mingus about how you can get some relief, such as jaw exercises and compresses. If you are not currently being treated for temporomandibular joint dysfunction, Dr. Mingus can help customize a solution for your individual jaw.