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, www.garrisondentistry.com.