Considerations for Eating With TMJ Disorder

Dentist in Calgary Serving Northwest, Downtown, and Nearby Calgary, Alberta


What is it like to live with painful eating? Ask any number of the people across the world living with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. Sadly, this is a regular occurrence for many of them. Anniversary dinners, brunches with their friends, and cozy home cooked meals often lack the same refueling power many others enjoy when they’re overshadowed by TMJ disorder. For those who live it, here are some considerations for eating with temporomandibular joint disorder.

Painful Chewing Explained

Chewing employs the use of the jaw muscles to move the lower jaw (mandible). The lower jaw moves on the temporomandibular joint that connects the jaw to the skull. When the joint dysfunctions, adjacent muscles and ligaments have to work overtime to keep the joint functional. Temporomandibular joint disorders can include:

  • Arthritis
  • Dislocation
  • Injury or infection in your TMJ

TMJ disorder symptoms affect many people differently. In some cases, symptoms don’t last long, while for others, pain and discomfort is constant. But in almost all cases people suffering find that their symptoms are made worse by clenching, chewing, swallowing, or grinding their teeth.

Managing Chewing Pains

To turn the tables on your chewing pains and keep the pain at a minimum, TMJ disorder sufferers can start by making a few key decisions.

  • Minimize wide jaw movements
  • Take smaller bites
  • Don’t overexert your jaw and mouth muscles
  • Avoid foods that require prolonged chewing
  • Exercise your jaw with mobility exercises
  • Notice and eliminate bad habits where possible (nail-biting, cheek or lip chewing, clenching, and teeth grinding)

The Best Solution

The management options listed above can help lessen chewing pain and act as helpful management strategies for avoiding spasms. However, they can’t resolve the fundamental issue causing the dysfunction in the first place. For that, the root problem has to be attended to. 

The best solution for TMJ disorder is TMJ treatment.

Scheduling a Consultation

For more information on TMJ treatment, you can schedule a consultation with Dr. Schick by calling our office at 403-407-5730.


*all procedures performed at our practice by a general dentist