One thing you can try to help your TMJ is jaw exercises. These can help some people improve symptoms such as jaw pain, and popping or clicking of the jaw joint. Because of their potential value, these exercises can be tried as part of homecare before you see a doctor or dentist about your TMJ.
Initially, you should do these exercises for five minutes at a time, twice a day. It’s important to do these exercises when you are relaxed. If you do them while you are stressed, the tension in your jaw muscles can lead to a worsening effect. If you can do them for these five minutes twice a day, though, you should see an improvement.
- Close your mouth so your teeth just touch. Make sure your tongue is a normal resting position, with the tip just behind the upper front teeth, and then arching along the top of the mouth.
- Move the tip of the tongue backward along the roof of the mouth as far as you can.
- Keeping your tongue on the roof of your mouth, slowly open your teeth until you can no longer keep your tongue in contact with the roof of the mouth.
It’s often recommended that you do these exercises while seated, but, especially when you start, a mirror is helpful so you can be sure your jaw is moving just up and down. Ideally, there should be no popping or clicking when you do these exercises, and if you hear some, start the exercise again. If you are unable to do the exercise without causing popping or clicking, you may need to seek professional care.
After the first week, try gradually increasing the amount of time you spend exercising.
When to Seek Professional Treatment
You should see results from the above exercise within a week or two. Although you may experience a slight increase in pain initially, this should subside after the first week. If it doesn’t, you should seek professional care.
You should also seek professional care if you are unable to do the exercise without jaw popping or clicking.
Finally, if you have done the exercises for three weeks and have noticed no improvement, it’s important to seek professional help.