Does your jaw often hurt when you eat or speak? Does the pain linger before seemingly fading away? Many things can cause your jaw to feel pain. But it is also possible that you need to see your general dentist because maybe you’re part of the 10 million Americans who have TMJ disorders. Other than that, you could belong to the 25 percent of the population who experienced TMJ symptoms at some point.
What Are TMJ Disorders?
The TMJ or temporomandibular joints are the joints responsible for connecting your skull and jaw bone. They also play a vital role in letting you speak, chew, and swallow normally. TMJ disorders are conditions that affect your TMJ and the ligaments surrounding it.
TMJ disorders can cause mild to debilitating pain in the jaw, ear, face, and neck, regardless if you’re chewing or not moving your mouth at all. It can also cause headaches and lockjaws.
Sometimes, they can even manifest as clicking, grating, and popping sounds when you move your mouth. These symptoms may seem out-of-the-blue, but some habits and previous incidents may cause your TMJ disorder.
How to Alleviate TMJ Pains?
A study in the Journal of Dental Research reveals that TMJ exercises are more effective than using mouthguards in terms of TMJ pain relief. So, if you’re suffering from TMJ disorders, here are some exercises that could help to alleviate the pain you feel:
Relaxed Jaw Exercise
Jaw relaxation exercises are thought to help ease the tension from the TMJ. It can remove some of the pressure you feel when you open and close your mouth.
- Gently put your tongue on the top of your mouth.
- Rest it just behind your upper front teeth.
- Relax your jaw as best you can.
- Let your upper and lower teeth separate but without removing your tongue from its place behind your upper teeth.
Partial and Full Goldfish Exercise
Goldfish exercise is an activity that may assist with jaw mobility and stretch the jaw. Having the mouth partially open can be a way to gently pry the mouth open with relatively less pain.
Goal: Six sets of six reps daily.
- Rest your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
- Place a finger in front of either of your ears.
- Put your middle and index fingers on your chin.
- Drop your lower jaw halfway while your fingers remain on your chin.
- Close your mouth.
Ideally, you will work on your partial goldfish exercises to do complete goldfish exercises later on. This is because, in full goldfish exercises, you will be dropping your lower jaw as much as you can instead of only halfway.
Mandible Stabilization Exercise
The ultimate goal of a Mandible Stabilization exercise is to align the jaw gradually. It also seeks to enhance the jaw’s range of motion as time passes.
Goal: Five sets of five reps daily at the very least.
- Let your jaw assume a neutral, relaxed position.
- Put your thumb on the base of your jaw below your chin on the right side.
- Apply gentle pressure on the area.
- Open your mouth slowly.
- Repeat steps one to five while alternating thumb placement from right to left.
There are some cases where the TMJ disorder will correct itself naturally. But if you still feel pain, you can get some form of reprieve through simple TMJ exercises. However, if the pain becomes debilitating. It’s best to stop your exercises and consult a dentist near you for possible options to address the issue.
If you’re looking for award-winning dentists in Chattanooga, TA, to help with your TMJ disorder, Shallowford Family Dental Group has got you covered! With well over seventy-five years of dental experience, you know that you are in good, capable hands when you’re with us. Book your appointment today!