12 Apr Ways to unlock jaw on your own
How to Try Unlocking Your Jaw on Your Own
One of the most used and under-acknowledged joints in our bodies is one you’ve likely not heard of before: the temporomandibular joint. Often simply shortened to TMD or TMJ, this joint enables you to open and close your mouth so you can perform everyday activities like eating, expressing emotions with your face, and speaking to others. The TMD is anything but simple, consisting of many muscles and special-shaped cartilage. Should the jaw become limited in its range of motion, you can try to unlock it yourself before a referral to a TMJ specialist. Here are some suggestions:
Option #1: Calm Down
Make a conscious effort to relax your jaw. Then you can move your jaw side to side, using your hands, without the muscles being tight or combative. If you’ve been clenching your teeth together, or if the muscles involved in chewing – called the masticatory muscles – are strained, you may feel soreness and discomfort. Some patients fear they will agravate the pain further, and they may have other symptoms too, including one or more of the following:
- Pain in the face and/or neck
- Tension-type headaches (often described as pain felt on the top of the head)
- Aches behind the eyes or around the eyes
- Soreness at the lower part of the lower jaw
Option #2: Apply Heat
Gently place a moist heat pad or compress on each side of the jaw and let it rest there for about 45 minutes (per side). The heat will typically help relax the sore muscles. Please note that a warm, moist washcloth is less effective in comparison as it does not hold in the heat.
Option #3: Over- and Under-Bite Exercises
This exercise is also known as “reducing the jaw.” Take the palms of your hands and put one on each side of your jaw, toward the back. Next, place your thumbs on the ridge behind the last tooth. Lastly, wiggle your jaw forward then backward, as though you have an overbite and then an underbite. This pushing and pulling activity can help your jaw to unlock, especially if your jaw is in a dropped, relaxed position as you do so.
Option #4: Wiggle Away
Unlocking a jaw can be as simple as moving the lower jaw around in a range of unique ways. In this case, the cartilage known as the articular disk, which is located within the jaw joint, may have slid out of place. By moving about the mandible, you may just encourage the disk to pop back into proper position. There’s no certainty that this will work… but it just might!
If you are still not able to remedy the locked jaw, call Dr. Afsaneh Moradi at Dental Wellness Group for professional assistance. Dr. Moradi is a TMJ specialist in Houston with more than two decades in this area. Seeking relief of the jaw pain will help you regain your quality of life.