Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders constitute a range of problems that occur with the
temporomandibular joint. This joint is located just in front of each ear and is imperative to
successful movement of your jaw. Without it, speaking and chewing would be impossible!
An estimated 10 million people experience some type of problem with their TMJ, whether it’s
due to an improper bite, arthritis, or even stress and teeth grinding. If you’re looking for TMJ
relief, you may be able to try the following dentist recommended exercises to treat your TMJ
Resisted Opening Exercise
Resisted opening exercises can help strengthen your jaw muscles and provide some relief for
TMJ tension. To perform a resisted opening exercise, place your thumb or thumbs underneath
your chin. Push your thumbs against your chin gently while opening your mouth. You can keep
your mouth open for about three seconds before closing it and repeat.
Relaxation exercises can help to ease sore jaw muscles associated with a TMJ disorder. To try a
relaxation exercise, place your tongue on the top of your mouth behind your front teeth. Allow
your jaw to open, keeping your muscles relaxed. You can also slowly close your mouth, keeping
your tongue in the same position.
Mild Resisted Opening Exercises
During mild resisted opening exercises, you can again place your tongue on the roof of your
mouth as in the previous exercise. Next, put one finger where your TMJ is—this will be just in
front of your ear. Put another finger from your opposite hand on your chin. Apply gentle
pressure on both fingers on your TMJ and chin.
Next, allow your lower jaw to open about halfway and close. For full opening, perform the same
process, except allow your jaw to completely open and then close. You should feel some
resistance here, but not pain. If the exercise is painful, do not continue.
Since stress is a major factor in many TMJ disorders, it may benefit you to try some relaxation
techniques in your daily life to cope with stress. Relaxation processes will be different for
everyone, but many people find that breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, or other forms of
exercise can help them manage their stress.
Following Up with Your Dentist
There are other ways to manage and treat your TMJ pain. It’s essential to follow up with your dentist. If any of these exercises are painful, do not continue them. Allowing your dentist to
examine your TMJ and determine the cause can help you uncover exercises and treatment
techniques that will work for you.
TMJ disorders are absolutely treatable and can be managed. For some people, determining the
cause of their TMJ disorder can help implement a successful treatment process to make their
pain go away permanently. For others, managing their stress and triggers for TMJ pain can help
effectively manage the disorder.
Your dentist is the first step to alleviating discomfort in your TMJ. By scheduling a simple exam,
you can determine if you suffer from a TMJ disorder and what treatments are available to help
you feel better today!