Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Exercises to Relieve TMJ Pain

TMJ pain may make you want to hold your jaw shut and move it as little as possible. However, doing some exercises can actually help out the pain and stiffness caused by TMD. At Garrison Family Dentistry in Smithville, MO, we know how frustrating TMJ pain can be. Try out some of these exercises next time you find your jaw aching.

This first exercise will help strengthen the ligaments around your jaw and it will help relax the muscles that work to close your mouth. Close your mouth, keeping your teeth together, but not clenched. Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind your front teeth. Move your tongue backwards until it touches your soft palate. Gently and slowly open your mouth until your tongue is separated from the soft palate. Keep your mouth open for five seconds and then close your mouth. Do this exercise slowly and deliberately for five minutes.

To stretch your tight jaw, close your mouth and place your right hand on the right side of your jaw. Gently push your lower jaw into your hand. Do this a few times and then switch to the other side.

To avoid triggering pain and stiffness, do not bite your nails (or other objects), keep your teeth parted when sleeping, and stop clenching when you notice you are doing it.

Night guards are also available for our patients who grind and clench their teeth at night. To schedule an appointment at Garrison Family Dentistry in Smithville, MO, call our office at (816) 532-8778 or visit our website,

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Getting Kids Motivated to Brush and Floss

Baby teeth are important because they hold the place for the future adult teeth. While kids may not be jumping at the chance to brush and floss, it is still so important that the job gets done. Here at Garrison Family Dentistry in Smithville, MO, we want to make sure that all of our littlest patients are doing a good job taking care of their teeth at home. Take some tips for motivating your child into a good dental hygiene routine.

Kids are often easily motivated by rewards. While brushing and flossing should be something they know they have to do for their health, rewards are a good way to get them into a habit. Try creating a chart that collects stars. Every day that they brush their teeth twice and floss once, they get a star. After so many days or weeks of straight stars, they get a reward. The reward can be simple and healthy, like taking them on a bike ride or letting them play outside a little longer.

Another great way to get kids motivated is to ensure they know that they are being healthy. Starting healthy habits at a young age will likely carry onto adulthood. Try showing them videos about why dental health is important. Cartoons and funny videos will get their attention and be educational.

Kids are also inclined to imitate their parents. Brush your teeth alongside them so they can follow your techniques and so you can make sure they do a good job.

Dental health starts at a young age. To schedule your family’s appointments with Garrison Family Dentistry in Smithville, MO, call our office at (816) 532-8778 or visit our website,