TMJ Therapy Techniques to Try at Home

The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is the point at which the jawbone meets the skull. It is like a sliding hinge on each side of the jawbone that allows us to perform actions like speaking and chewing. The function of this connection, sometimes limited by a syndrome affecting the jaw muscles and nerves in the area. The TMJ relies on hinge action with sliding motions to facilitate movement. The part where the bones meet the point is usually covered by cartilage and separated by a shock-absorbing disk to allow for smoother flow. Any interference to this structure and mechanism can cause you to develop TMJ syndrome.

The symptoms associated with the syndrome include pain, clicking or crackling sounds or popping of the jaw when attempting to move to the area. In some extreme cases, you may experience swelling on the sides of the face, nerve inflammation, headaches, and even dislocation of the TMJ joint. The limitations associated with TMJ syndrome will also vary across patients. Our dentist in Suffern, NY, 10901 recommends therapy for mild cases, while extreme cases that limit movement or cause great pain may require surgery.

TMJ Therapy Exercises

It is not clear how TMJ exercise can help with dealing with the disorder, but it speculated that it does strengthen the jaw muscles, increase mobility, and promote healing of the jaw. It also stretches and relaxes the jaw and reducing the clicking of the jaw. According to a study by the Journal of Dental Research, TMJ exercises increase mouth opening range way better than using a mouth guard for patients with TMJ disc displacement. Before attempting any of the following exercises, consult a dentist near you.

  • Relaxed Jaw Exercise – Allow your tongue to gently rest on top of your mouth right behind the upper front teeth and then gradually allow your teeth to come apart as you relax the jaw muscles.
  • Goldfish Exercises – There are two variations to this therapy, full and partial opening. For the full opening, keep your tongue on the roof of the mouth and then place a finger on either side of your TMJ and another on the chin. Let your lower jaw completely drop back and repeat this six times every day on both sides of the jaw.
  • To complete the partial opening variation, keep your tongue at the roof of the mouth, but this time place one finger in front of the ear near your TMJ. Position your middle finger on the chin and drop the lower aw halfway then close. It would help if you experienced mild resistance around the area but not pain. Do six sets of this exercise on each side of the jaw daily as well.
  • Chin Tucks – Rest your shoulders back and have your chest up, then pull your chin straight back to create a double-chin. Hold that position for three seconds and release, then repeat ten times.
  • Tongue-Up – This is quite simple, let your tongue touch the roof of the mouth and then slowly open and such your mouth.
  • Forward Jaw Movement – Take a ¼ inch object and place it between your front teeth and then proceed to move the bottom jaw forward such that the bottom teeth are in front of the top teeth. Once you master the technique well enough, gradually increase the thickness of the object between the teeth.
  • Side to Side Jaw Movement – Again, place a ¼ inch object between your front teeth and slowly move your jaw from one side to the other. As you master the technique, you can increase the thickening of the object.

To learn more about TMJ therapy in Suffern, NY, you can visit Dental Wellness of Suffern clinic. Our dentist will demonstrate how to perform the exercises and also monitor your situation to see if you are making any progress. We serve patients in the following areas: Montebello, NY, Mahwah, NJ, Upper Bergen County, NJ, Ramapo, NJ, Saddle River, NJ, Ridgewood, NJ and Westwood Park Ridge, NJ.

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