The average person probably couldn’t point out their temporomandibular joints (TMJ) if you asked them to, but these are two of the most active connections in your body. Every time you chew, talk, or swallow, your TMJ is hard at work.
The temporomandibular joint disorder occurs when there is something wrong with your jaw muscles or TMJ. This can be the result of overuse, poorly aligned teeth, injuries, or inflammation from other diseases such as arthritis.
Symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
Pain associated with chewing
Pain in the jaw, ear, neck, or face
Popping or clicking sounds when you close or open your mouth
Difficulty opening or closing your mouth
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, the first thing you should do is consult a dentist. Your dentist has many tools at his/her disposal to address your TMJ like medications, therapy, and surgery. While receiving treatment from your dentist, you can also alleviate the symptoms you are experiencing by doing these helpful exercises:
1. Relaxing your jaw exercise
This is a very simple exercise. Place your tongue at the top of your mouth right behind your upper teeth and relax your jaw muscles, allowing your upper and lower teeth to come apart.
2. Partial goldfish exercise
Start this exercise by placing your tongue on the roof area of your mouth. Place a finger in front of your ear right on your TMJ joint. Next, place your middle finger on your chin.
Now, let your lower jaw drop halfway down, then close your mouth. Repeat six times to complete a set. Aim for a set of these six times a day.
3. Full goldfish exercise
This is similar to the second exercise above. It starts with one finger on your temporomandibular joint and the other on your chin. The difference with this exercise is that you allow your jaw to drop before bringing it back up. It is important to complete this exercise six times a day.
4. Chin Tucks
While standing with your shoulders rolled back and your chest out, pull your chin backward. It will look like you have a "double chin" when you do it properly. Hold this position for three seconds to complete a rep. Aim for 10 repetitions every time you perform this exercise.
5. Opening your mouth against resistance
Opening your mouth against resistance is a great way to build your TMJ muscles. This exercise starts with your thumb placed underneath your chin. Now, push gently against your chin while slowly opening your mouth. Hold for about three seconds and close your mouth slowly to complete the rep. Perform this exercise 10 times for each set.
6. Closing your mouth with resistance
Here is another easy exercise. With your mouth wide open, grab your chin with your index finger and thumb. Close your mouth slowly as you create resistance by holding your chin. Open your mouth slowly to complete the rep.
How can you really use this?
Adding these exercises to your daily routine will help you alleviate the pain and other symptoms commonly associated with TMJ disorder. Contact your dentist to learn more about coping with temporomandibular joint disorders.
Request an appointment in our Playa Vista dental office here: https://www.playavistadentalcare.com. Call us at (310) 589-3146 for more information about TMJ from Playa Vista Dental Care.
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