July 17, 2021
When your dentist is putting together a treatment plan for your TMD, they might also prescribe or recommend a series of jaw exercises that you can perform every day. These exercises are believed to help strengthen, stretch, and relax the jaw muscles; they may also improve jaw mobility and promote healing. In short, if you want to find true relief from your TMD pain, you should take the time to perform these exercises on a regular basis. Here are 5 examples of exercises recommended by the American Academy of Family Physicians that your dentist might suggest.
1. Relax Your Jaw
Position your tongue so that it’s touching the top of your mouth. Let your jaw muscles relax so that the upper and lower rows of teeth slowly separate. Hold this position for the directed amount of time and repeat as told.
2. Goldfish Exercise
There are actually two different versions of this particular exercise. The first involves only partially opening your mouth. Put one finger in front of your ear in front of the TMJ, and use your other hand to put another finger on your chin. Open your jaw halfway, then close it again. The second version is largely the same, except you drop your jaw completely. Both exercises should be repeated six times to complete a single set; it’s usually recommended that you perform six sets every day.
3. Chin Tucks
Stand up straight, then put your shoulders back and hold your chest up. Pull in your chin so that the skin between it and your neck starts to droop down, which creates what looks like a double chin. Hold for three seconds before repeating. This exercise should be repeated about 10 times for a single set.
4. Resisted Opening and Closing of Your Mouth
These exercises are very useful when it comes to strengthening your chewing muscles. For the opening exercise, place your thumb under your chin while your mouth is closed. Open your mouth slowly, hold it in place for three to six seconds, then close it slowly again. For the closing exercise, let your chin drop down, then squeeze it with your index and thumb to put pressure on it. Then slowly close your mouth. Both exercises should be repeated as directed.
5. Side to Side Jaw Movement
For this exercise, you’ll need an object that’s a quarter-of-an-inch thick; some stacked tongue depressors can do the job nicely. Place the object between your front teeth, then move your jaw from side to side. You can gradually increase the thickness of the object as this exercise becomes easier.
Your dentist may provide additional exercises along with more specific instructions after you have been properly diagnosed with a TMD. Call your dental practice today to set up an appointment; the sooner you start your TMD therapy, the closer you’ll be to relief.
About the Author
Dr. Bita Kamali earned her dental degree at the Baylor College of Dentistry. She is very passionate when it comes to her chosen field, and she has remained at the forefront of the latest advancements in dental technology and techniques. She can provide occlusal splints for TMD therapy as well as additional tips for stopping the pain. To schedule a TMD consultation at her practice, Parkway Vista Dental, visit her website or call (972) 818-1300.