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August 11, 2022

7 Helpful Jaw Exercises to Help with TMD Pain

A woman experiencing TMD pain in Ann Arbor

Ultimately, it’s best to treat temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD) with a professional dentist. They will have the knowledge, skills, and tools to fully address the cause of your problem. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t ease some of your condition’s soreness on your own. It turns out there are some home methods for reducing TMJ discomfort. To learn more, here are seven home exercises that can help with TMD pain from your Ann Arbor dentist.

The Relaxed Jaw Exercise

To perform this exercise, first rest your tongue gently on the top of your mouth and behind your upper teeth. From there, let your pearly whites come apart while also relaxing your jaw muscles.

“Goldfish” Exercise (Partial Opening)

The “Goldfish” partial movement starts by placing your tongue on the roof of your mouth. At the same time, you’ll also put one finger on your TMJ and another on your chin. You’ll then drop your jaw halfway and then close it. Repeat these steps six times to complete one set.

“Goldfish” Exercise (Full Opening)

Like the partial variant, the “Goldfish” full movement keeps your tongue on your mouth’s roof and fingers on your TMJ and chin. However, this version has you drop your lower jaw entirely and close it back up. Complete one set by doing this exercise six times daily.

Chin Tucks

For this exercise, you pull your chin straight back and have your shoulders back and chest up. The motion makes you seem like you have a “double chin.” Hold that look for three seconds and repeat it ten times to experience a pain-relieving effect.

Resisted Opening

First, place your thumb under your chin. Next, open your mouth slowly and push gently against said chin for resistance. Hold for three to six seconds, and then close your mouth slowly.

Resisted Closing

The resisted closing, meanwhile, has you squeeze your chin with your index finger and thumb with one hand. Close your mouth as you gently place pressure on your chin. This action will help strengthen the muscles that help you chew.

Side-to-Side Jaw Movement

Unlike the other exercises, the side-to-side jaw movement involves an extra tool. It starts by having you put a ¼-inch object between your front teeth. As you do so, slowly move your jaw from side to side. As the exercise becomes easier, increase the thickness of the object between your teeth by stacking them one on top of each other.

In addition to professional dental treatment, the seven techniques above can relieve your TMD pain in Ann Arbor. Talk to your local dentist about other at-home approaches for TMJ injuries.

About the Author

Dr. James Olsen is a dentist based in Ann Arbor, MI, having earned his DDS from the University of Michigan’s School of Dentistry. His main specialties are preventive, cosmetic, and restorative dental treatments, including emergency procedures when necessary. He’s also trained in sleep apnea and TMJ therapies that use the latest techniques. Dr. Olsen currently practices at his self-titled clinic and is reachable at his website or by phone at (734)-996-0200.

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