Below are several jaw stretches you can use to maintain proper TMJ function and ease tight jaw muscles .According to one 2010 study published in the Journal of Dental Research, performing TMJ exercises increases mouth opening range more than using a mouth guard in people with TMJ disc displacement.
Please note if you have any pain while doing them, please don’t do them
- Curl your tongue back towards your throat and touch the roof of your mouth.
- Open your mouth until you can feel a hollow spot with your fingers on your jaw joint.
- Place your fingers on that hollow spot
- Open and stop before feeling the hollow spot.
- The jaw joints should feel even and your jaw should open straight.
If you hear clicking as you open your jaw, open to the extent that you don’t hear a click. These jaw stretches are best done in the morning after waking up
Active Jaw stretch (Do this 6 times a day)
- Open and close your mouth slowly a few times as a warmup.
- Then, while opening, place your fingers on the top of your front four bottom teeth and pull down gently until you feel a slight discomfort at the side of your jaw.
- Your mouth should be open wide.
- Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat three times, gradually working your way up to 12 times.
Protrusive circles (Do this 6 times thrice a day)
- Move your jaw forward until your front teeth are touching end to end
- Open your mouth just less than maximum keeping your jaw forward
- Pull your jaw back and bite on your back teeth
Lateral and protrusive resistance (Do this 30 seconds thrice a day)
- Open your mouth one finger width
- Take your index finger on the same side you moved your jaw and place very gentle lateral pressure against your jaw
- Resist the pressure so that your jaw does not move
- Push your jaw also forward against the pressure
Resisted opening (do this 6 times 3 /day)
- Place your elbow on the table and your chin on your fist or the cup of your hands
- Then do the tongue curl exercise mentioned above
Chin tucks (do this 6 times 6 /day)
- Sit upright and look straight ahead with the ears directly over the shoulders.
- Place a finger on the chin.
- Without moving the finger, pull the chin and head straight back until a good stretch is felt at the base of the head and top of the neck. (There should now be some separation between the chin and finger.) If you look in the mirror, it will seem like you are having a double chin.
- Hold for 5 seconds if possible.
- Bring the chin forward again to the finger.
- Repeat for a total of 6 times, or as tolerated.
Chin tucks are a great exercise to reduce your forward head posture
I also recommend learning about the proper tongue position so that you can reduce your clenching