If you have temporomandibular joint disorder, arthritis, or another problem that makes it difficult for you to open your mouth, you might dread visiting the dentist. However, your next dentist appointment doesn't have to be painful or uncomfortable. Try these tips before you go to the dentist next to loosen up your jaw.
Massaging your jaw and neck can potentially help your jaw to be more flexible, or at least less painful when you open wide. The muscles controlling your temporomandibular joint can become tight and painful when you're stressed, from poor posture, or even from sitting at a computer for too long. Giving these muscles a gentle massage can help to loosen up your jaw.
You can either go to a professional or perform self massage - it's up to you. Focus on the joints in your jaw, and then gently massage your neck and shoulders. Since these muscles are connected, something as minor as a stiff shoulder might make it harder to keep your mouth open for long periods of time.
Another way to loosen up the muscles in and around your jaw is to perform some simple stretches. During the days leading up to your dental exam, practice opening your mouth wide. Gently rotate your neck, and stretch those muscles out. This should help any tight muscles to relax, but if you don't regularly eat hard or crunchy foods, there's also a chance that the muscles in your jaw are weak. Gradually strengthening them can help to reduce any discomfort you feel in your jaw while you're at the dentist's office.
Don't forget to take any medications that help you with jaw pain, like anti-inflammatory medications. Ibuprofen can potentially reduce swelling and inflammation, which is particularly important if you have arthritis. If the joints in your jaw are swollen, it will make it much more difficult to open and close your mouth.
Make sure that you take your anti-inflammatory medication before you get to the dentist's office so that the pill breaks down and the medicine is already in your bloodstream by the time you're in the examination chair.
Having a stiff or painful jaw can make seeing the dentist a bit unpleasant, but with these tips, it'll be less uncomfortable. If you're having a particularly hard time, try asking your dentist to use a bite block or cushion. This device sits between your upper and lower teeth, keeping your mouth open, so you don't have to tire out your muscles doing it yourself. Contact a dentist, like http://suncoastdental.com, for more help.