Exercises for TMJ Disorder

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Address temporomandibular joint pain with TMJ exercises

If you suffer from discomfort caused by TMJD (temporomandibular joint disorder), you’ll want to educate yourself about the many treatments available today before resorting to costly and painful TMJ surgery. Dentists and doctors typically recommend trying nonsurgical interventions like a mouth guard for TMJ from CustMbite. We offer a thin, affordable, and comfortable TMJ mouth guard for patients who want to alleviate the side effects of TMJD. Many people who choose to wear a mouthguard practice TMJ exercises as well in order to obtain the benefits of both. Read on to learn more about the causes and symptoms of TMJD and how noninvasive methods like a TMJ mouth guard and simple at-home exercises can help to reduce the painful effects of TMJ.

What are some of the symptoms that can be relieved by TMJ exercises?

TMJ exercises can help to strengthen, stretch, and relax the jaw’s temporomandibular joint, which allows your mouth to close and open smoothly. TMJD is caused by injury or inflammation to the joint’s muscles and nerves. When the temporomandibular joint’s muscles, ligaments, bones, or discs aren’t working together properly, you might experience a range of common symptoms, like:

  • Bruxism (or teeth grinding)
  • Pain in your face, scalp, and neck
  • Jaw mobility problems
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Difficulty chewing

However, these are just a few examples of the symptoms of TMJ disorder. One popular misconception is that TMJ symptoms are restricted to just the mouth and jaw; but in truth, TMJ can affect the entire upper body. When you talk to a dentist or doctor, make sure to mention all of your symptoms, even the ones that seem unrelated. Neck stiffness, dizziness, or unexplained sore throats may all be caused by TMJ. This will help them recommend a course of treatment that could include a TMJ mouth guard from CustMbite, exercises, and other methods that are right for you.

What types of TMJ exercises can I do at home?

According to a study published in the Journal of Dental Research, TMJ exercises are an effective way to strengthen the jaw and increase the range of mouth opening. Beginning a regular practice of TMJ exercises is a free and easy way to increase your jaw mobility. Your dentist or TMJ specialist can offer you additional guidance on which exercises are right for you. Here are some examples of widely used TMJ exercises:

  • TMJ exercises for the mouth:
    • Resisted opening of the mouth: Place your thumb under your chin to provide resistance as you slowly open your mouth. Hold this position for 3-5 seconds before slowly closing your mouth.
    • Resisted closing of the mouth: Squeeze your chin gently with the index finger and thumb of one hand. Apply gentle pressure as you close your mouth slowly.
    • Partial “Goldfish” exercise: Place one finger on your chin and another on your temporomandibular joint. Rest your tongue behind your front teeth. Then, slowly open and close your jaw partway.
    • Full “Goldfish” exercise: This exercise is the full expression of “Goldfish”. With your hands and tongue in the same position as the partial exercise, allow your jaw to open fully.
    • “Tongue up” mouth movements: Press the tip of your tongue to the roof of your mouth directly behind your front teeth as you open and close your mouth slowly.
  • TMJ exercises for the jaw:
    • Relaxed jaw exercises: Keeping the tip of your tongue in the “tongue up” position, relax your jaw and allow your teeth to come apart.
    • Forward jaw exercises: Move your bottom jaw forward while holding a thin object between your front teeth. Increase the thickness of the object as your jaw becomes stronger.
    • Lateral jaw movement: As in the forward jaw exercise, begin by holding a thin object between your teeth. Move your jaw from side to side. As your jaw grows stronger, increase the thickness of the object.
    • Chin tucks: Keeping your shoulders down and your chest open, pull your chin straight back to create a double chin.

If your dentist recommends TMJ exercises, it’s important to be consistent. Practice your exercises as prescribed so your jaw has the opportunity to gain strength and flexibility. Opting to wear a night guard can also support your progress, particularly if your TMJ is exacerbated by bruxism. You might be reluctant to wear one, especially if you think of wearing a guard as an unpleasant, uncomfortable experience. However, an FDA-cleared TMJ mouth guard from CustMbite might just change your mind. Made from VistaMaxx, our patented fitting material, our mouth guards for TMJ are simple to fit (and refit) and a breeze to clean. Plus, our mouth guards for TMJ are so thin that you can easily speak, drink, and breathe while they’re in.

What happens if TMJ is left untreated?

The side effects of any TMJD symptoms you experience can impact your life in a number of ways, from headaches and dental problems to tingling fingers and ringing in your ears. Many patients ask, “Can TMJ go away on its own?” While it is possible, leaving TMJ untreated in the hopes that it will disappear can lead to permanent damage to your hearing, chronic pain, and other serious consequences. However, don’t despair - TMJ surgery isn’t necessarily in your future. Noninvasive, at-home TMJ exercises and a CustMbite mouth guard are an affordable and convenient course of action. If you suffer from TMJ, protect your jaw from the effects of TMJD and try a CustMbite TMJ mouth guard today.

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