Home Exercises to Help With TMJ
As we welcome 2023, Boisson Dental Group, your family dentist in Grande Prairie, is always striving to improve the level of care we deliver for our patients. As general dentists who focus on physiologic dentistry, patients suffering from TMJ disorder come to us for an elevated approach to treating the source of their symptoms.
Our last blog focused on TMJ, too, with 4 Tips for Treating TMJ At Home. Today’s article is intended as a supplement to the last, to give you more tools to deal with a sore jaw at home. There are several helpful home exercises to help with TMJ, which focus on relaxing, stretching, and strengthening the TMJ and surrounding areas, like your neck.
Chin Tuck Stretch
This is a common stretch you may already do post-workout. It is a simple, easy home exercise that is great for relaxing and stretching your neck, shoulders, and TMJ.
Stand straight, with your shoulders back, chest open, and head in the neutral position. Bring your chin towards your chest, creating a ‘double chin’.
To treat pain, it is recommended to hold a stretch like this for as long as is comfortable, ranging from 5-15 seconds. Repeat three times. This three-repetition set can be done effectively three times a day.
This is a home exercise intended to strengthen your TMJ. You will benefit from repeating this with regularity to build up strength and mobility.
Place the tip of your tongue behind your front teeth on the roof of your mouth. Slowly open your mouth as wide as you can while holding your tongue in this position, then close it again. Focus on relaxing your TMJ while repeating this 5-7 times.
Resisted Mouth Opening
Here is another strengthening home exercise for your TMJ, which will improve its mobility and strength with regular repetition.
Create resistance against your jaw by placing a thumb under your chin. Slowly open your mouth against this resistance. You should experience gentle pressure while still being able to open your mouth fully. Hold this open, resisted position for 3-6 seconds, then return to close in a slow, controlled motion. Repeat 5-7 times.
Resisted Mouth Closing
Partner this TMJ strengthening home exercise with the Resisted Mouth Opening to increase your TMJ’s resilience. It will also help to increase your chew’s power, which is great for digestion. Resisted closing doesn’t feel as intuitive as resisted opening, but the concept is the same but inverted.
Open your mouth while holding your chin gently. Use your thumb and index finger to push gently downwards against your chin as you close your mouth. Repeat this resisted closing 5-7 times.
Side-To-Side Jaw Stretch and Strengthen
Did you know that we’re able to process fibrous plant foods because our jaws move side-to-side and front-to-back? Obligate carnivores like cats cannot move their jaws from side to side, which makes them effective hunters, but rightfully averse to eating plants. Not you, human, you have to eat your veggies for optimal health!
This side-to-side movement with a slightly opened mouth is a home exercise that increases the dexterity and mobility of your TMJ. You’ll need an object with a ¼” width that can be easily cleaned and safely placed between your teeth.
Place the cleaned object comfortably between your front teeth, keeping your head level for safety. Now move your jaw slowly side-to-side. The object will move in the direction of your jaw’s movement, testing its tensile strength. As your TMJ becomes stronger, you can find a wider object. Repeat 5-7 times.
Front-To-Back Jaw Stretch and Strengthen
Partner this mobility-enhancing home exercise for your TMJ with the Side-to-Side Jaw Stretch and Strengthen. Use the same object, ¼” width that can be easily cleaned and safely placed between your teeth.
Place the cleaned object comfortably between your front teeth, keeping your head level for safety. Now move your jaw slowly front-to-back, jutting your bottom teeth out beyond your top teeth. As your TMJ becomes stronger, you can find a wider object. Repeat 5-7 times.
Home Exercises for TMJ
Boisson Dental Group, your family dentist in Grande Prairie, wants you to benefit from our expertise in physiologic dentistry. TMJ disorder is a pain but it can be alleviated with specific dental interventions and home care. Use these home exercises to help lessen your TMJ pain over time. If you are experiencing immediate pain, try the Chin Tuck Stretch. You can also easily do these exercises at your desk at work.
Give Boisson Family Dentist in Grande Prairie a call to learn more about our approach to treating TMJ: