Vacationing with TMJ Disorder

Family on top of mountain skiing in sunshine

What do traveling and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder have in common? Easy: Both are stressful, and both require a bit of forward thinking to be comfortable. Whether you’re planning a trip to Grandma’s or winter break on an island, traveling with TMJ disorder can be a debacle if you aren’t prepared. Before you pack that suitcase and head out for fun in the sun (or on the slopes!), check out this TMJ disorder travel checklist.

  1. Don’t forget your aligner. Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you can skip your neuromuscular dentistry treatment. If you have been prescribed a bite guard or an aligner, make sure you wear it as prescribed and don’t take a (winter) break from it.
  2. Don’t forget your guard cleaner, either, because it may not be readily available depending on where you go. It’s very important to clean your guard when you’re not wearing it so it doesn’t get plaque buildup and stays free of bacteria and germs when not in your mouth.
  3. Wear sunblock on your lips. Buy yourself a lip balm with SPF and apply it religiously. Whether you’re lying on the beach with a good book or slaloming down the slopes, the harmful UV rays of the sun can cause painful sunburn, even on your lips. This in turn can cause scarring, infection and oral cancer, none of which you need or want – especially if you already have TMJ disorder.
  4. Be smart about recreational activities. Love beach volleyball but hate the stiffness in your jaw? Be careful what you play. Blunt force to the jaw can not only worsen TMJ symptoms, but can also cause TMJ disorder! Are you a skier? Be careful to not land on your jaw if you wipe out.
  5. Pack TMJ-friendly snacks. Wherever you end up may not stock much in the way of healthy, TMJ disorder-friendly snacks, so be sure to stock up on and pack your own. Look for things like single-serve apple sauce, soft breakfast bars and, if you can transport it safely, string cheese or yogurt. These will allow you to indulge without worsening your condition.

For questions or concerns about TMJ disorder or any other dental issue, please contact Dr. George’s office at 724-220-2347

Dr. Alexandra S. George

Medically reviewed by Dr. Alexandra S. George - D.D.S., L.Vl.I.F. on December 10th, 2018