Good Mythical Morning is a video talk show posting to YouTube, featuring the “Intertainers” Rhett and Link. On an episode entitled “How to Cure TMJ,” the intertainers amusingly spread awareness about TMJ, as well as some misinformation.
Waking Up with Lockjaw
The episode starts out talking about how Link woke up one morning with intense jaw pain, and the jaw seized. Although Link didn’t know what was happening, and just tried to slip some over-the-counter pain medications into his closed mouth, his wife quickly identified the problem as TMJ, and linked it to jaw popping that he had apparently had for a long time.
The two hosts then discuss the condition, including possible causes and treatments.
Understanding the Causes of TMJ
One of the main issues Rhet and Link talk about in the episode is the possible cause of Link’s TMJ. Ignoring the connection to Link’s jaw popping, they instead focus mostly on teeth clenching and Link’s tendency to chew his food too much. In so doing, they miss numerous other possible causes of TMJ.
Most importantly, the emphasis on chewing too much fails to acknowledge that the muscles and jaw are designed for chewing a lot. The sheer quantity of chewing shouldn’t be an issue in and of itself. When it does become a problem is when the jaw is misaligned, causing the jaw muscles to have to work harder when you chew. This is what links the jaw pain to the popping sound, which is caused not by the bone popping out of place, but by the cushioning disc slipping into place.
TMJ can also be related to jaw trauma, a misaligned bite, and other causes.
Perhaps the worst thing about this episode of Good Mythical Morning is the proposed solution, taken from eHow. Link describes how he found these exercises and then forced his jaw open, causing it to stretch, and thereby curing his problem.
This is not a good idea. Trying to force your jaw or any other joint to move in a way that your muscles can’t make it go can lead to serious injury. Even if it leads to short-term improvement, it may lead to long-term damage.
If you have your jaw locked in place because of TMJ, it’s best to seek professional help to make sure that any attempt to force the jaw is made with a full understanding of the jaw joint anatomy and how best to avoid damage. It can also help you understand whether your problem may be more serious than you initially believed.
If you are suffering from TMJ and want real relief, please call (303) 691-0267 for an appointment with a Denver TMJ dentist at TMJ Therapy & Sleep Center of Colorado.