1. 14 years ago

    Hi, I have t.m.j. Every 12 hours pain comes in my right jaw both top and bottom. I take ivfrofin (2) to help. the dentist says to soak in hot water.What other recommendations would you have?

    Any help would be appreicated. Thank you

    jane C.

  2. Doc Kelley

    May 2006 Administrator

    Hello Jane,

    TMJ problems can be caused by a large number of different things and can result in hundreds of problems, besides pain, almost anywhere in your body.

    Without examining you it is almost impossible to give you specific advice. One question comes immediately to mind. At which two times every day does your right jaw pain reoccur?

    In the meantime, here are several things you can try.

    1. Stand in front of a mirror and watch as you SLOWLY open your jaw as far as you can comfortably open it. You must open extremely slowly or you will miss what you need to observe. If your jaw moves to one side as you open it, the muscles inside your jaw are too tight on the side your jaw moves towards and too tight outside your jaw on the opposite side.

    For example, if your jaw moves towards the right as you slowly open it, the muscles inside on the right are too tight and the muscles outside on the left are too tight. In this example, try crushing some ICE and pushing it back with your tongue to the muscles inside your right jaw while you use an ice pack to rub the muscles outside your left jaw just below your left ear.

    This may be uncomfortable if your teeth are highly sensitive to cold. Just try it and see what you can comfortably tolerate.

    2. EXERCISE YOUR JAW MUSCLES to rebalance and retrain them to work equally together: Several times a day, especially in the morning when you get up and at night before bed, stand in front of the mirror with an index finger on either side of your chin. SLOWLY open your jaw. If it starts to move towards the right, push just hard enough with your right index finger to make your jaw go straight. If your jaw moves to the left, push just hard enough with your left index finger to make your jaw go straight. Continue "helping" your jaw go straight all the way open and all the way closed. Repeat at least five times all the way open and all the way closed.

    3. RETRAIN YOUR JAW MUSCLES TO RELAX: Whenever you think about it during the day, place your tongue gently and lightly against the roof of your mouth. This causes the muscles of your jaw to naturally relax so you don't bite your tongue. With practice this can become a habit that "carries over" into the night so you don't clench your teeth while sleeping (a common cause of TMJ discomfort).

    Let me know how you do.

    Best of Health,

    Doc Kelley

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