Physical Therapy For The TMJ

Restricted mouth opening is frequently associated with acute arthritis of the TMJ because of the painful synovitis and intra-articular effusion. Traumatic arthritis and other inflammatory joint diseases result in restricted mandibular (jaw) movements.

Physical exercises are beneficial to prevent formation of into-articular (joint capsule) adhesions and to increase the blood flow and strength of the jaw muscles. Physical therapy is therefore a valuable adjunct to other treatments for TMJ arthritis’s aimed at normalizing the functional capability the temporomandibular system.

This self-administered physical training program is a modification of exercise that have evolved through use in many clinics throughout the world. Each exercise should be performed about 10 times, and the whole training program should be performed twice a day. Movements that cause pain should be avoided. Local application of heat over the TMJs and cheeks often make the exercise easier and more comfortable to perform because heat increases elasticity to the tissues and local blood circulation. The prognosis is quite good for patients with TMJ.

For more information on TMD Dentist & TMJ Specialist Treatment in Greenville, South Carolina call us at 864-233-4166 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Lindner.

Patient Instructions for TMJ Exercise Program:
1. Relax and lower your shoulders.
2. Let your lower jaw relax and make the M sound. Make sure the teeth do not contact. Relax your tongue.
3. Make small, relaxed, up-and-down and side-to-side movements without tooth contact to warm up the muscles.
4. Open and close your mouth as much as you can without pain or discomfort. Move your lower jaw as far forward as possible and then back again. Make similar movements toward each side and then relax.
5. Make the same movements as in exercise 4 but against resistance with your hand. Press with your fist below your chin during mouth opening. Push your thumb against the point of your chin during forward movement and against the right and left sides of your chin during lateral movements. Keep your lower jaw at the extreme point of each movement for a few seconds.
6. Open your mouth as wide as possible and then try to close while you resist this movement by pushing downward against your lower front teeth with your fingers. Hold the jaw in this position for a few seconds.
7. Open your mouth as wide as you can. Then stretch further by pushing with your fingers against the upper and lower front teeth.
8. While looking in the mirror , try to move your jaw straight up and down. Avoid deviations as well as movements that produce clicking or locking of the jaw.
9. End the exercise program by resting on your back for 5-10 minutes.