If you experience a lot of pain in your jaw, face, and head, your dentist might diagnose the problem as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. This pain that occurs from TMJ is from inflammation in the jaw joints, and you might be able to find some relief for this pain by performing some exercises that are designed to make the jaw muscles stronger and train the jaw how to open and close properly.

The pencil exercise

A simple exercise you can use several times a day to strengthen these muscles is called the pencil exercise. To use this, place a pencil (or any other object that is similar in size) in your mouth so that each end of the pencil is sticking out of each side of your mouth. Next, move your jaw back and forth from left to right. This will work out those muscles and help them become stronger.

Open and close

A second way to exercise your jaw is simply by opening and closing it, and you can do this while sitting, standing, or driving. Simply open your mouth by dropping your lower jaw down. Hold this position for two seconds and then bring your lower jaw back up to a closed mouth position. Repeat this several times throughout the day. As you do this for several days, you may find that you can open your mouth further than you could when you originally started doing these exercises.

Resisting exercises

You can also use resistance to help build these muscles as a way of relieving pain. A simple way to do this is by placing your thumb underneath your chin. Next, open your mouth by forcing your lower jaw downwards. As you do this, use your thumb to place pressure upwards to create resistance.

You can do the opposite of this too by holding your mouth open and placing your thumb on the area of your face just below your bottom lip (this is often called a chin ridge). Next, try to close your mouth as your thumb tries to hold your mouth open.

These exercises can help you train your jaw muscles to be stronger. Stronger jaw muscles may help tremendously with pain and your ability to open and close your mouth.  Dentists, such as Webster John B DDS, can also offer a variety of treatment options for TMJ, and you can schedule an appointment with a dentist if you are interested in finding out other ways to treat TMJ.