Can TMJ jaw exercises relieve my jaw popping and prevent needing a night guard? Whenever I yawn, chew, or laugh, my jaw pops. I can even feel it popping in my sleep. I read that jaw exercises and heat and cold packs can help. I get some relief from heat and cold packs. But I probably need to do the right jaw exercises. I looked on YouTube and did the exercises taught by a few physical therapists, but trying to do the movements seemed to increase the pain. Can you recommend jaw exercises for TMJ? I have a strong gag reflex and want to avoid wearing a night guard because I think it will make sleeping even more challenging. Thanks. Cheyenne
Thank you for contacting Dr. Tostado’s and Dr. Acuña’s office. Popping noises when you open or close your jaw is a symptom of TMJ, but you need a comprehensive exam to identify the cause of your signs and symptoms.
Other TMJ symptoms include:
- Neck pain
- Ringing in the ears
- Teeth grinding
Can TMJ Exercises Relieve Jaw Popping?
Whether TMJ exercises can relieve jaw popping and prevent the need for a night guard depends on the severity of your case. Jaw exercises may not be enough to give you relief. You may need a customized night guard, or a dentist may need to adjust your bite (how your upper and lower teeth meet when you bite down).
A custom night guard has these purposes:
- Minimize teeth grinding, which can lead to TMJ
- Align your jaw
- Relax your jaw muscles
We recommend scheduling an exam with a dentist with training and experience in TMJ diagnosis and treatment. Without an accurate diagnosis, TMJ exercises may do more harm than good.
San Antonio dentists Dr. Gilberto Tostado and Dr. Karina Acuña sponsor this post.